Abstract: Practices of hygiene are an integral part of the history of the neo-Vaishnavite culture of Assam, India. As is well known to us, standards of personal hygiene and social distancing are the only proven methods in our fight against COVID-19. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these practices have acquired renewed relevance. Methods: A random questionnaire based survey done among 100 followers of the neo-Vaishnavite culture in the city of Guwahati, India was done. It was found that our respondents were used to taking bath before cooking (65%), and before entering the premises of their homes (50%). Almost 100% of our respondents replied that they washed their hands before cooking and after toilet. Our respondents (65%) said that they use fresh clothes for cooking. Almost 100% of our respondents answered that they follow the practice of wrapping a scarf/towel over his face to cover his mouth and nose this practice during community food services. Results and Discussion: During our research we found that the traditional practices of the hygiene among neo-Vaishnavite sect of Assam, which already have a wide acceptability, may be scientifically relevant in developing public health strategy. The current guidelines in the wake of COVID-19 came relatively easy for the neo-Vaishnavite people, as most of our respondents (95%) were practising “near similar norms” of hygiene for more than 20 years as a part of their tradition. While the scientific relevance of any local tradition remains a matter of further may study, the widespread acceptability of these practices may offers insights which may be applicable for long term behavioural changes required to mitigate infectious outbreaks.
Key words: COVID-19, Neo-Vaishnavite, Community, Hygiene