Just thinking about Diwali brings back a flood of memories of the fun that comes with the festival. The beautiful oil lamps, the smell of homemade sweets, the squeals and laughter of children running around the streets in joy.
Diwali translates to ‘row of lamps’ and is a celebration of the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over dark. It is a festival celebrated mainly by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs; but the spirit of the festival is contagious, mesmerising all who experience it as fireworks soar into the sky ending in a blast of spectacular colours and loud firecrackers echo through the streets night after night.
But sadly there is a dark side to Diwali as the festival comes at a price to the environment and many living beings. The ill effects of noise from the continuous blasts can include hearing impairment, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease and sleep disturbance. The noise can be uncomfortable especially to senior citizens, pregnant women and infants.
A firecracker storm usually shrouds the city in unpleasant smog while releasing toxic chemicals into the air, inevitably affecting those breathing in the air. The dust, fumes, smoke and gases in our big cities is already well above permissible limits and this only worsens during Diwali. The pollution can also trigger asthma attacks and cause new cases of asthma.
Animals go through a very confusing time at Diwali. Sudden explosions of light and sound disorient them and make them nervous. Strays go into hiding or run into traffic, birds react with fear and many abandon their nests.
So it’s important that we be responsible and safe while celebrating this wonderful festival that many of us wait all year long for. Here’s a list of Dos and Don’ts that we think will help you celebrate Diwali the best way possible.
- Buy as few firecrackers as possible and use the extra money you set aside for firecrackers to give gifts to family and friends.
- If you must set-off firecrackers, try noiseless alternatives like sparklers.
- Light as many earthen lamps as you want to bring in the true meaning of the festival.
- Wear earplugs while exposed to explosive firecrackers.
- Wear thick cotton clothes while exposed to firecrackers.
- Use the occasion to spend quality time with family and friends.
- Shed all your inhibitions and misgivings and make a fresh start especially if there has been any unpleasantness with your family or friends in your past.
- Remember those working during Diwali like your security or your domestic aide. Stop for a moment and make them feel like a part of the celebration.
- Be a volunteer. There are hundreds of victims who suffer cracker burns. Volunteer with the Police or hospitals rescuing burns victims.
- Hold on to your furry friends at home and comfort them when they are startled.
- Be a little more compassionate to animals and make people aware of how harmful firecrackers are to them.
- Clean up after you set-off with fireworks, the remains are extremely harmful to the environment and the animals who may chew on it later.
- Spend extravagant amounts of money on firecrackers, instead of giving something to those in need.
- Buy fireworks that are not eco-friendly.
- Burn crackers in crowded places, narrow lanes, near sources of fire or inside the house.
- Explode noisy fireworks when there are senior citizens, pregnant women, infants or animals in your neighbourhood.
- Wear loose clothing when exposed to firecrackers.
- Target animals with firecrackers or aim them into trees.
- Be afraid to step up and educate everyone around you about having a responsible Diwali.
We hope this festival brings you happiness and prosperity all year round. At QNET we wish you a happy, safe and responsible Diwali!