Thu, 12 Dec, 2019

A celebration of purity & optimism

Goans celebrate the festival of lights with gusto amidst various new trends sweeping the Diwali markets in the state

27th October 2019, 02:17 Hrs

JAY JOSHI


India’s most loved festival is finally upon us! Diwali is here, and there is considerable excitement in households as well as markets as Hindus across the country celebrate the festival today. Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated to denote the victory of light over darkness. According to Puranic references, it marks the moment Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasur. 

As the festival of lights began today, markets of Goa came alive, serving materials which have over the years become a hallmark of the Diwali festival. That said, the way Diwali is celebrated has been changing over time. As factors such as growing trend of online shopping, and increasing awareness about pollution become major themes, markets begin to reflect these changes. 

This time around, even as people prefer to buy gifts online, many traditional materials such as  there is considerable demand for traditional materials such as sky lamps, earthen diyas, garlands, and of course firecrackers in the mainstream market. “Sky lamps are available between a range of Rs 50 to 700,” informes a vendor from Ponda, “ This time the new trend is towards buying paper sky lamps rather than plastic. Business has been good, but untimely rains have affected it,” he states. Traditional marigold garlands are competing with artificial ones for the customer’s pocket. A natural string of marigold is available for Rs 70 per metre, while hand-made garland costs around Rs 30. However, on the other hand, colorful artificial garlands are available within a range of Rs 60-150. Traditional earthen diyas are available between Rs 30 a dozen to Rs 100 a dozen in various designs. 

While there is considerable demand for the decorative and ceremonial materials, firecrackers,which have been an inseparable part of festival are witnessing a mixed response. In line with the orders of Supreme Court that fireworks be enjoyed only between 8pm to 10pm, the government of Goa too has issues orders setting time limit for fireworks. Apart from that, there is a lot of talk about new eco-friendly fireworks hitting the market this season. Government in states such as UP have stated that citizens buy eco-friendly fireworks from licensed sellers and not from e-commerce platforms. These new crackers are a part of initiatives by the Central government to curb pollution. However, this new measure is being viewed with scepticism by environmentalists as well as customers. “Pollution aside, firecrackers are not a part of the genuine Diwali tradition of India,” says environmental activist Abhijit Sadhale from Ponda. “Diwli is a festival of lights and purity. Crackers is something that has become a part of the festival over the past many years. I personally don’t burst crackers, but if someone has to do it, it should be done within a limit,” says the environmentalist. “If you speak about pollution aspect, it may be noted that  the pollution caused by motor vehicles is far greater than that caused by firecrackers. Agreed that there is a need to tackle this pollution too, but there is no harm in allowing firecrackers within reasonable limits,” he says. 

Ishan Kosambe, customer from Margao though is sceptical about the crackers. “The very concept of eco-friendly firecrackers is contradictory. If there are crackers, there is fire and smoke. Our goal should be to ensure a pollution-free Diwali,” says Kosambe. 

Environmentally-friendly fireworks are also available in Goa. “Yes, we have the new eco-friendly fireworks. We believe it is a welcome step by the central government to introduce firecrackers that are less polluting,” informs Rudresh Verekar, a seller of fireworks from Ponda. “Along with introducing the new eco-friendly fireworks, manufacturers have also stopped making sparkles that emitted coloured smoke,” he adds. A box of eco-friendly firecrackers is currently priced at Rs 100, and the new initiative is receiving good response, sellers stated. 

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