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One of the main holidays of Hinduism completely changes its format due to the pandemic

22.06.2020 47 просмотров

One of the largest Hindu festivals, called the Ratha Yatra, or "chariot festival", is held in India annually in June-July for 10-12 days and gathers thousands of pilgrims from all over the country on the streets of the city of Puri in the eastern state of Orissa.

The main element of the festival is three huge chariots with statues of deities. Together with hundreds of people, they move along Bara Danda, the main street of the city, from one temple to another.

This year, the start date of the celebration has been set for June 23, but the status of the festival has remained ambiguous until recently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, June 22, the Central Government announced the possibility of holding Ratha Yatra, but without public participation. Clerics who tested negative for COVID-19 will be allowed directly to the procession, as well as 500-600 people who will pull chariots along the main street while maintaining social distance. Citizens will be able to follow the procession through an online broadcast.

The Supreme Court, as an example of compliance with social distancing norms, was provided with information according to which 372 people were involved in the construction of three chariots for a month and a half, whose tests upon completion of construction gave a negative result. A curfew was also proposed to eliminate any risk.

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Earlier, on June 18, the Supreme Court issued a ruling prohibiting the Ratha -yatra, explaining that the estimated number of people who can gather in various cities of India as part of the festival exceeds one million people, and for the safety of citizens it would be advisable to refrain from celebrating this year altogether, since under the conditions assumed by the festival itself, it will be impossible to comply with the government-recommended social distancing norms. 

This decision to cancel the Ratha Yatra caused a wave of satisfaction with the priests of the main temple of Jagannath in Puri and with the leaders of the opposition, who criticized the state government. The last time the tradition of celebration was interrupted between 1733 and 1735 as a result of an attack on the Jagannath temple, but since then the festival has been held annually for 285 years. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that for millions it is a matter of faith, and according to tradition, if Jagannath does not “come out” this year, then he will not be able to “come out” for the next 12 years.

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Photo: /6pYxOZrnNyA/maxresdefault.jpg

< br> Jagannath is considered the incarnation of the god Krishna. His regional cult in the state of Orissa and the main temple in Puri are shrouded in a halo of mystery. This is reinforced by the ban on visiting the temple by representatives of another religion and the untouchables. The "dark side" of the annual holiday is the numerous ritual suicides of pilgrims who voluntarily throw themselves under the wheels of three chariots belonging to Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and reaching a height of 10-11 meters.

For its centuries-old In history, the Ratha Yatra holiday has gained great popularity and has gone far beyond the boundaries of one city and even one country. In Russia, the festival is held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities.

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