Subdued Vishu celebrations in Kerala

Restricted celebration: Shoppers thronging a market on the eve of Vishu in Thiruvananthapuram.  

Kerala celebrated Vishu under the lengthening shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, also the second day of the Ramzan fast.

Malayalees observed Vishu in a relatively sombre fashion for the second consecutive year.

Most people remained indoors. Festivities were restricted to the homes, socialising mostly over the telephone. Families and friends caught up with each other largely on Internet-based video call and conference platforms.

Crowded Iftar parties and packed Vishu feasts that marked celebrations in the pre-COVID-19 years seemed a distant memory, though shoppers had thronged markets on Vishu eve on Tuesday.

Kerala Governor Arif Muhammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala greeted the people on the occasion of Vishu and Ramzan.

Mosques organised prayers, with the faithful wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Places of worship checked body temperatures before allowing devotees inside.

The administration has warned supermarkets against holding mega events that attract large crowds. It ordered malls, theatres and auditoriums with centralised air conditioning to strictly restrict occupancy and ensure total adherence to COVID-19 protocol, including thermal scanning of visitors at the entrance.

The government has limited open-air and indoor gatherings to not more than 200 and 100 persons, respectively. It has banned communal feasting. However, organisers could give guests parcelled meals.

Municipal authorities issued notice to hotels requesting them to limit indoor dining to less than half the seating capacity. Customers should remain socially distanced and restaurants must down shutters at 9 p.m.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 2:44:01 PM |

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