While scientists have been working extremely hard to find a vaccine and a potential cure to the Coronavirus, back in India, people have been involving themselves in rituals and seeking God’s help in eliminating the virus.
Villagers In North Karnataka Take To An Ancient Ritual
Just like how Plegamma and Maaramma were thrown out of their village boundaries by their ancestors, the villagers have now set their next target to the Coronavirus. Rituals are now ongoing to pray to ‘Coronamma’ so that the virus leaves for the good.
The Participants Explain
One of the participants explained the detailed process of conduction of this ritual. He said: “It’s like an online challenge. Residents of the village adjoining us transferred the goddess to ours. We then took it forward, performed puja, and sent the goddess to the next village, Saklapurada Hatti. Village elders decide on an auspicious time for the procession and drummers pass the word around. All residents clean their houses, prepare sweets to offer to the goddess, and gather at a given place. We then pray to the goddess to go away from us and take her to the next village. Many villages are part of such rituals. When chikungunya was haunting people, villagers sent Kuntamma (goddess of laming) out of the village.”
Another participant added: “Such send-offs are given during healthcare emergencies. We also celebrate ‘holigemma’ (after holige, a sweet dish) to welcome rains every year.”
Experts Talk About The Topic
A psychiatrist said that such practices are an attempt to reassure communities to mitigate the anxiety and panic created during a natural disaster. He added that healthcare workers can use such occasions to create awareness among villagers.
One of the experts felt that such kind of rituals actually increases awareness amongst people.”Villagers use neem leaves to carry the statue of the goddess. Neem has antiseptic and antiviral properties. And Ayurveda says neem’s bitter slop is a sanitizer. Tamarind, another main component of such rituals, also has anti-viral properties. So they do realize the importance of disinfection and sanitizing. People usually make nutritious delicacies using jaggery as the main ingredient which helps boost immunity. Godhi Huggi (wheat payasam) also helps increase protein intake.“
Source: Times of India