By Deepti Sikka
MELBOURNE, 23 August 2020: Ganesh Chaturthi one of India’s big Hindu festivals was celebrated online this year, with devotees globally connecting with each other virtually as there was no option but to celebrate the festival on digital platforms.
The festival, which has its inception with majestic processions and community prayers offered at decked up pandals, this year lacked its grandeur with the government directives restricting large congregations because of the Coved-19 pandemic. There was a low turnout in the pandals, as arrangements were made for virtual darshan.
Every year the devotees bring Ganesha home during this time of the year, with ecological awareness growing people are making a conscious attempt to save the environment making eco-friendly Ganesha idols.
The Ganesh idol is worshipped with elaborate rituals spread over 10 days; a lot of cultural activities are organized wherein people participate with great enthusiasm. This year was different compared to previous years, with everything going online, artists uploaded their performances online, zoom links were created for families as Ganesha darshan went virtual in 2020.
The celebration magnificence was missing this year but it did not dampen the devotees. IT consultant Neha Khanna, talking to South Asia Times said, it was challenging to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in isolation, especially for us as we had been celebrating this festival for the past 9 years with friends and family. For the morning Arti we called up our parents and added them through video call for the first darshan! Similarly, we had our evening Arti over zoom with friends, it surely wasn’t the same, but we did what we could to keep our spirits high.”
No doubt, Ganesh Chaturthi was different this year, thanks to online mediums Zoom and Skype, the festival connected families and friends virtually sustaining the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi.