Video of thousands of Indians bathing in the Ganges during Maha Shivaratri sparks COVID-19 concerns among Chinese netizens
Published: Mar 14, 2021 04:48 PM
Indian people are in the Ganges. Photo: CFP

Indian people are in the Ganges. Photo: CFP

A video showing thousands of Indians gathering together to bathe in the Gange to celebrate the Maha Shivaratri festival went viral on Chinese social media on Sunday. The sight of people getting  close together without face masks sparked concerns among Chinese netizens, who worried that it might intensify the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The related hashtag "tens of thousands of Indians jump into the Ganges to bathe" earned more than 160 million views on Sunday on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

According to Toutiao News, the video was shot onThursday, the day of Maha Shivaratri, a traditional Indian festival that sees tens of thousands of people celebrate by gathering in the Ganges to bathe. According to the report, many Indians have shrugged off the pandemic, saying the Ganges will protect them from the virus.

The video has sparked concern among Chinese netizens. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has not ended. Their close distance in the video is very dangerous and none of them are wearing face masks, making the gathering even more dangerous," one Sina Weibo user wrote.

"Are they trying to eliminate the virus or let the COVID-19 virus spread more steadily? Indian people should take the pandemic seriously and rely more on scientific prevention methods," another netizen commented.

"Believers hold many religious activities to please Shiva during Maha Shivaratri, including taking a religious bath, and the best bathing place is in the Ganges," an owner of an Indian restaurant in Beijing, who lived in India for several years, told the Global Times. 

"So millions of devotees walk or ride to the Ganges every year on that day." 

However, even if some Chinese netizens were familiar with Maha Shivaratri and understood how important the festival is to Hindus,  they said did not approve of holding such largescale celebrations amid the serious pandemic in India.

More than 24,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in India on Friday, and there have been over 150,000 deaths caused by the pandemic in the country.

Some Chinese netizens compared the festival to Chinese New Year, which is an important holiday for Chinese people, and noted that to prevent the virus from spreading, many Chinese people in 2021 chose to give up heading back home to celebrate the festival with family.

"Lowering the number of gatherings is effective. The Chinese mainland has seen zero local infections for 27 days after the Spring Festival," one netizen wrote.