Chennai: The people of this teeming megapolis ushered in the New year with spiritual fervour and traditional gaiety in Tamilnadu.
As the clock struck 12, shouts of ‘Happy New Year’ rent the air, fireworks lit up the skies and people burst crackers and bade farewell to Covid-hit 2020 and ushered in 2021.
However, the celebrations were a low key one in view of the Covid pandemic and the new mutant variant emerging in the UK.
The world famous Marina beach front, where lakhs of people used to congregate every year, wore a deserted look as the Tamilnadu government banned New year fete in public in view of the pandemic.
All the beach fronts and the roads leading to the beaches were made out of bound for public.
As many as 10,000 police personnel were deployed on security duty and check posts and barricades were erected to prevent people entering the beach front. All the flyovers and arterial roads were also came under police surveillance to prevent unwanted movement of people.
The new year fete was also banned in clubs and other hotels which were directed to wind up their operations by 10 pm Thursday.
The New Year was also celebrated by various residential associations in the city, by bursting crackers and distributing sweets, while tastefully decorating and illuminating their buildings.
People ushered in the new year by drawing colourful rangolis in front of their houses.
Special midnight masses were held in various churches across the State and the churches were tastefully decorated and illuminated to mark the occasion.
Special poojas and abhishekams were held at various temples across the State.
People attired in new clothes thronged temples early in the morning to offer worship.
Large crowds were seen in temples, including at the famous Sri Parthasarathy temple, Lord Kapaleeswarar temple and at Lord Muruga temple at Vadapalani in the city.
Elsewhere in the state, a large number of people offered prayers at the ancient Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam, Lord Varadharajaswamy temple at Kancheepuram, Goddess Meenakshi Amman temple at Madurai, Goddess Kamatchi Amman temple in Kancheepuram and at Sri Ramanathaswamy temple at Rameswaram.
Huge crowds were also seen in all the six abodes of Lord Muruga as devotees thronged in large numbers to offer prayers.
Christians thronged the Santhome Basilica in the city and at Velankanni church in Besant Nagar, besides the world famous Nagapattinam Church to mark the occasion by following Covid SOPs.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, DMK president M K Stalin and leaders of various political parties, including MDMK general secertary Vaiko, DMDK leader Vijayakanth, TMC leader G K Vasan, AMMK leader Dhinakaran greeted the people on the occasion and wished them more wealth and prosperity in their lives.