Villagers living in the outskirts of Chennai were hoping for a grand Pongal celebration this year at least but the third wave of the pandemic has ruined their plans.
Seetharaman of Rajakilpakkam, general secretary of the People Welfare Association, was busy organising a grand celebration but the new COVID restrictions have made him cancel them. “Usually, we celebrate Samathuva Pongal in our residential area. Residents of all age groups take part in the events of the day. Last year’s celebrations were also marred by the COVID and the situation hasn’t changed this year, as well,” he said.
Munusammy, president of Thalambur village panchayat said, “The public are still eagerly waiting to celebrate Pongal and participate in the events which will be held on that day. The excitement did not decrease yet everyone is upset that the celebrations can’t grand due to the restrictions in place.”
He added that celebrations used to be over the top with almost all residents in their village participating every year. The past two years have been watered down because of the pandemic and they hope the situation would be better by next year at least.
“Government may restrict us from gathering in public places and celebrating, but we would find ways to celebrate inside our houses with family and play games among ourselves,” Meena, a resident of Mudichur, said.
Sindhulekha, president of Mudichur panchayat, said, “Residents of our village were excited to celebrate Pongal this year but due to the sudden spike in COVID cases, all celebrations were cancelled.” Still, within their apartments, a few of them will celebrate the festival and will make sure to follow all government protocols.
Shobana Thangam Sundar, president of Kovalam panchayat, also had the same story to share. She said many plans had to be cancelled last minute due to the rise in cases.
The villagers said they were hoping for a COVID-free Pongal but regardless, celebrations without breaking the SOPs will continue.