Adapting celebrations for today’s festivals

Published on Aug 08, 2022 01:44 AM IST

We are not toiling farmers, but urbanites. We should adapt. Why can’t the local MLA hold a common fireworks display after 8, when Diwali pooja is done, or a bonfire? Solutions exist.

People burst fire crackers on Diwali in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
People burst fire crackers on Diwali in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

My favourite festival is Holi. Our elders sprayed friends with gently coloured water and powder.

In college, we turned to toxic chemical dyes and more dry powder. Now, we buy organic powder, good for our skin and the earth, if less vibrant. Many of us, ripe adults, have enjoyed Holi in all 3 phases, adapting to concerns around skin allergies and toxicity. Why not adapt for other festivities?

The current kite flying season is one. This pan-Indian cultural phenomenon is marred by the dangerous, banned nylon, glass coated manjha which even kills by slitting people’s throats. If the public won’t stop, raid and penalise illegal sellers and manufacturers. Offer fiscal incentives to safe alternatives.

Also Read | Single-use plastics: The next five steps

Similarly, Diwali can also be enjoyed firework-free. Most of India traditionally celebrated with lights, prayers, sweets and kajal from the pooja lamp.

As for Lohri, why add to air pollution with bonfires?

We are not toiling farmers, but urbanites. We should adapt. Why can’t the local MLA hold a common fireworks display after 8, when Diwali pooja is done, or a bonfire? Solutions exist. I won’t list them. Yet, do note that we have changed our celebrations of festivals as economic, digital and community dynamics shift.

Now, it’s time to take our own health into account. We seek divine blessings on one hand, but show the Divine what silly people we are on the other hand. Dwell on this as you pray today.

(The writer is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Bharati Chaturvedi is an environmentalist and writer. She is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.

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