India is a country of festivals as the seasons come and go! It novel coronavirus or no coronavirus it is time to take some precautions and look forward to the Maharashtrian New Year of Gudi Padwa. Gudi Padwa commences this Wednesday, March 25 by the lunar-solar Hindu calendar. This festival is celebrated as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Yugadi in Karnataka, Poila Baisakh in West Bengal, Bihu in Assam, Cheti Chand in Gujarat. Majarashtrian and Konkani people also refer to Gudi Padwa as the first day of the Hindu new year by Maharashtraians and Konkani people interestingly call the first day of the new year as Samvatsara, signifying the start of a new cycle of 60 years – and all 60 samvatsara are identified by unique names. Most Goan Hindus take place to hang up a “gudi” (flag) high outside their homes, it enshrines copper tumbler filled with auspicious ingredients as an offering to earn the blessings of Mother Earth. Make the most of it, sweet puranpoli, rava and moong ladoo are prepared in most homes and this is to say may this Gudi Padwa clear the air of novel coronavirus and usher in peace and prosperity for all!
The coronavirus closure being enforced officially and unofficially is not yet over so it’s anyone’s guess how much of the market will be open for people to purchase their daily needs of bread, milk, eggs and groceries. Most stores are open and shopping goes on smoothly across Goa. Some consumers may be going into panic buying but this has stopped given the government assurances that vital supply chains are free to take precautions and operate in supermarkets and locals stores. Restaurants too are open and not in total shut-down mode. Most places have put out useful hand sanitizers for people to use when they come in shopping – these may be seen in mithai shops and other stores retailing consumer products.
With the closure of schools parents are happy but sorely in need of ideas of how to keep the children busy and doing their lessons at home! For two weeks they have this dilemma of how to cope with the home front as also work place, because for many small establishments it has to be business as usual give or take a few precautions.
With all the advice to practice social distancing for 14 days until the coronavirus scare is over, readers may take note of the following closures: The Archbishop has decided to call off the concert of March 25 at Panjim Church. The International Centre Goa has suspended all its programs till further notice. Museum of Goa, Pilerne, will be closed and there will be no MOG Sunday talk or socializing; Sunapranta Goa Centre for the Arts at Altinho, Panaji, will not be screening its scheduled films; the Indo-Portuguese Friendship Society-Goa has postponed its events, and there will be no State Level Choir (Hymn) Singing Competition 2019-2020 at the Dinanath Mangeshkar Kala Mandir, Panaji, on Saturday, March 21.
It’s difficult advice to take a call on all around but members of the public have been cautioned and advised to check on what’s on or off before venturing out for entertainment, workshops, talks or events hitherto scheduled but now cancelled!
Director of Health Services (Government of Goa) Dr Jose A O D’Sa has sent out a government circular to all establishments with the following instructions: All weekly bazaars are suspended until further notice. Also pubs will remain closed, coaching classes suspended for the time being, shopping malls too remain closed until further notice. The order comes into effect from 12 midnight of March 20/21 and will remain in force till March 31, 2020.