Devout Hindus customarily begin every new year visiting temples with their families. Elders usually wake up early in the morning on 1 January every year, take a bath, put on new clothes and go to a temple to offer the day’s first prayer to the Gods – wishing for peace and prosperity.
The first day of 2021 was no different. Even amid the pandemic, on Friday, several Indian temples witnessed larger than average crowds of devotees, who began lining up at dawn to offer prayers to the deities.
The priests performed the ceremonial morning “aarti” (prayer) at all temples in the presence of people standing with joined hands and closed eyes. The Aarti is a Hindu tradition in which earthen or metal lamps are lit like candles and rotated in clock-wise and anti-clockwise directions in front of the gods’ idols as a mark of devotion and prayer.
Amid winter chills, pictures and videos from several popular holy destinations including the Jammu and Kashmir-located Vaishnao Devi shrine made it to the social media, giving a glimpse into how even millennials are keeping these ancient traditions alive.
Jammu and Kashmir: Devotees pour out in large number to offer prayers at the shrine of Vaishno Devi in Katra on the New Year.— ANI (@ANI) January 1, 2021
"My family had wished to visit here on the first day of the year. I have prayed this coronavirus crisis to end soon," says a devotee pic.twitter.com/HrO2LrMej6
West Bengal: Devotees at Adyapith Kali temple in Kolkata to offer prayers— ANI (@ANI) January 1, 2021
"I try to come for darshan at least once a year. I wish that we get the COVID19 vaccine soon this year," a devotee says. pic.twitter.com/yD9FKafHtc
Bihar: Patna's Mahaveer temple sees a large number of devotees on the first day of the year 2021 pic.twitter.com/rEtdYQtE2j— ANI (@ANI) January 1, 2021
India entered 2021 amid restrictions put into place due to the coronavirus situation.
All major metro cities including Delhi and Mumbai had imposed night curfews on New Year eve and warned strictly against public gatherings.
This year, house parties and bonfires with close friends and family proved to be the new years celebration trend in India.