Huge crowds in India ignore social distancing to throw cow dung at each other at street festival

Hundreds of revellers ignored social distancing measures - to hurl cow dung at one another at a street festival

Footage shows a large crowd tightly packed together to take part during Indian New Year celebrations - in clear defiance of the World Health Organisation's one metre minimum distance recommendation.

Almost 100 people - including pensioners - were injured as a result of the annual poo-slinging festivities.

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Many locals also didn’t wear masks.

Hundreds defied Covid restrictions during the Ugadi Celebrations in India with a cow dung fight and a procession of donkeys (Photo: SWNS)

What’s the celebration all about?

The Ugadi Celebrations celebrate a marriage dispute between two deities.

Villagers believe re-enacting the dispute and its peaceful conclusion each year will bring peace, health and prosperity.

To celebrate the marriage of Lord Veerabhadra and Goddess Kalika, locals split into two groups before throwing the cow dung cakes - which are prepared at least a month in advance.

The ritual is unique to the village of Kairuppala in Kurnool, south India, and traditionally takes place a day after the lunar new year.

Donkeys were also paraded along the tightly packed streets as part of the celebrations, in a bid to encourage good fortune.

Local doctor Anil Kumar said: “It’s a grave situation.

"We need to take care of our community as well.

“Such crowds result in people infecting others and this is where things could turn out of hand if social distancing is not maintained.”

In recent weeks India has experienced a second wave of coronavirus - with cases now hitting at least 200,000 a day.

The country has experienced 173,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic last March.