Introduction You all might be very well aware of the fact that India is a land of festivals and the people of the country are very much keen on celebrating almost all the festivals with the same fervor and spirit irrespective of its importance in celebrating the festival. Indians are ever busy in celebrating various religious and social festivals and they show over enthusiasm in celebrating all the festivals and functions with high spirits and they keep enjoying the celebrations of the festivals one after the other.
Diwali is the most popular Hindu festival of lights and in fact this is the much awaited festival of the year. The people of the country eagerly wait for the festival of lights only to celebrate it with much of pomp and pleasure and with a high level of competitive spirit. As soon as Dussehra - the Hindu festival of victory is over, once again the people become busy making preparations for Diwali only to enjoy it with much of competition.
Mythological importance The Hindu festival of lights has its importance even in the puranas (the ancient scriptures of the Hindus) and was celebrated in a much safer and eco-friendly way in the ancient times. According to the puranas, when the devatas (the heavenly gods) and the danavs (demons) were churning the mighty ocean for extracting nectar from the depths of the ocean beds, many valuable things were excavated one after the other. And during the course of this action of great ocean churning, it is believed that on the dark moonless night of No moon day or Amavasya day, Goddess Lakshmi Devi – the Hindu goddess of wealth evolved from the depths of ocean with amazing dazzle of light, spreading her light around to kill the darkness and to bless her devotees with prosperous life. People rejoiced Her birth and they decorated their homes with flowers and oil lit earthen lamps / diyas and thus enhanced the beauty of their homes as a gesture of their welcome to the goddess of wealth to their homes. From thence it became customary for the Hindus to worship Goddess Lakshmi Devi on Diwali day to commemorate her birth on this day.
In a different contest, this even signifies that the goddess of wealth leads her devotees towards the path of knowledge by removing the darkness in their minds to evolve them into better beings.
There are even other important mythological stories connected to this festival. As per Vedas, it is on this day in the Dwaparayuga that Lord Krishna accompanied with Satyabhama who is one among his eight wives killed the demon king Narakasura in a fierce battle. Thus the people who were relieved from the atrocities of the cruel demon expressed their joy by decorating their home with flowers and oil lit earthen lamps and thus celebrated Diwali in an eco-friendly manner.
Yet another mythological story connected to the festival is that it is on this day in the Dwaparayuga, the Pandavas returned to their capital Hastinapura after their 14 year long exile (13 years of forest exile and one year of incognito). And the other important mythological significance of the festival is that on Diwali day in the Treta Yuga, Lord Raama returned to his capital Ayodhya after killing King Ravana - the ten-headed King of Lanka - in a long and fierce battle. And the people of Ayodhya rejoiced the return of their beloved King and decorated their homes beautifully with flowers and oil lit lamps as a gesture to welcome their beloved king Lord Rama. Though there are various other mythological stories connected to Diwali festival, yet the above mentioned stories are quite prominent ones.
Major impacts of the festival on the environment Diwali is not only is a festival of lights when the oil lamps are lighted and decorated in the yards, balconies and entrances to enhance the beauty of the house but also the festival is very much connected to the high levels of competitive play of fireworks, fire crackers and explosives. The highlight of the festival begins after the sun set when people in particular the men folk start their enjoyment with the fire crackers and explosives. Moreover it is the young men who are much involved in the fire crackers with high level of competitions. They take pride in showing their boldness in handling the explosives and unfortunately they are least bothered about the surroundings and the environmental pollution caused thereby.
Pollution of the air:
Unfortunately the people are more inclined towards temporary enjoyment of a few hours play with the fireworks and in the course of their action they do not give much importance to the air pollution caused due to the smoke of these fireworks. People who are involved much in the play of fireworks do not realize the fact that much of toxic gases are released in the form of smoke into the air due to the fire works. The harmful chemicals like potassium, magnesium, sulphur, iron filings, sodium, aluminium, copper, cadmium and other such chemicals are used in the making of these fire works / explosives. And the smoke / fumes released on burning these fire crackers cause lot of health problems in humans like irritation in the respiratory tract, irritation of the skin and other such health problems.
Apart from this, the smoke caused due to the burning of these harmful chemicals even disturb the delicate balance in the ecology by causing harm to various insects. It is time for our people to know the health problems caused to the living creatures due to the burning of the fire crackers so that they can slowly reduce their play of fireworks and celebrate the festival in an eco-friendly way and thus conserve our environment from polluting further.
Tremendous noise pollution:
The tremendous sound produced by the burning of explosives needs no mention here as everyone very much know about the fact. And such a high decibels of sound is highly dangerous for the infants, toddlers, senior citizens, heart patients and other patients too. Before any one you use such high explosives, it would be better if you give a second thought before using these. Just think for a moment, think of these people for whom the explosives pose a danger and remember that you are not the only one in your area but there are many people living in the area including infants, senior citizens and heart patients, kindly think of the health problem that would be caused to these people due to your use of explosives and just say 'no to explosives' and thus let them enjoy good health.
Such high decibels of sound due to the explosives not only pose a danger to the health of the above mentioned people, but sometimes these might miss fire and you too might get affected with such a loud noise and there are chances of loss of hearing and other health-related problems due to the intense sound produced by these explosives. Hence in view of the safety of the entire community, think for a moment before you use these explosives and either completely stop the use of explosives in this year's Diwali or at least try to drastically reduce the use of these dangerous explosives.
Much of consumerism and expenditure of large amounts of money:
Most of the people do not agree with the fact that Diwali involves spending of large amounts of money within a short time. But it is a fact that the consumerism during this festival season would be very high and people just keep spending large amounts of money on purchases of various items including the fire crackers. Keeping the present cost of living in view which is ever-increasing, it would be really wise to cut down the expenses on the purchase of fire crackers and spend money rather frugally and use only those fire workers which do not pose a threat neither to the humans nor to the environment. Try to cut short the expenditure on the harmful fire crackers and explosives and help conserve the Mother Nature.
Depletion of natural resources:
As it is a fact that most of the chemicals like iron filings, aluminium filings, copper etc are the natural resources which need to be conserved for future generations as these are depleting fast. Hence people need to use these resources rather frugally and take necessary steps towards the conservation of these natural resources instead of involving themselves in the wastage of these resources without any concern for the future. Think twice before using and wasting these resources.
High level of energy consumption:
Due to the hectic life schedule and also due to various other reasons people are more inclined towards the use of electrical lights on this festival day instead of depending on the oil lit earthen lamps. As a result of the high level of energy consumption, there is a heavy load on the electrical energy and this is further increasing the power problem in the country. People need to keep in mind, the power problem that is prevailing in the country and they should reduce the use of electrical lights on Diwali day and try to revive the age old tradition of usage of oil lit earthen lamps which helps not only in conserving the electrical energy but also makes the festival an eco-friendly one. Before the use of electrical lights for this Diwali, just think of those remote isolated villages / tribal agencies which are in darkness during many hours a day.
Do's and don'ts for celebrating the festival in a safer way
Diwali is the most enjoyable festival of the people of India and particular the young ones have lots of fun while playing with the fireworks and fire crackers. As the festival involves fun with fire and fireworks, the young and old alike need to follow certain do's and don'ts to ensure the enjoyment of the festival in a much safer way.
Do's for a safe way of celebrating
In this way if you happen to follow the most important safer ways of celebrating the festival, you can happily enjoy the festival. However, remember that it is always encouraging to play an eco-friendly Deepavali
For a greener way of celebrating the festival With the increasing awareness in the public on going greener ways of celebrating various festivals as a part of protecting the environment from further polluting, people are trying to celebrate festivals in an pollution-free way. As a part of 'go green' celebrations, recently people have started celebrating a safe and environment-friendly Holi festival and also they are much after celebrating an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi so that they can at least to some extent protect the environment. So also , it is the need of the hour to celebrate Diwali in a much greener way to protect the nature. Here is what you can do for a greener Diwali:
Conclusion Make this Diwali an environment-friendly one and try to protect Mother Nature with the much reduced activity of bursting fireworks. It is a festival of lights which implies the removal of darkness from our minds and giving way to knowledge. Man is a part of nature and he has to live in communion with the nature and not by exploiting and spoiling Mother Nature. In case, man happens to pollute the nature, it is he who has to face the consequences thereafter and face much difficulties. For a happy, healthy and harmonious living lets strive to celebrate the festival of lights in a much safer and greener way.
Wish you all a happy, safe, eco-friendly and prosperous Deepavali.
Kalyani is basically an educationist and presently a home-maker who is fruitfully utilizing her free time in freelancing, online content writing and above all blogging. She is an active lead editor at IndiaStudyChannel.com for over 2 years. She is an environmentalist who strives to protect the environment through the revival of age-old eco-friendly practices. She also strives to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India.
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There is no doubt that the festival of Deepawali always gathers much interest in children and elders, but spending too much money on crackers is just foolishness. We are all educated and know the impact of noise and chemical pollution during that festivity and just think about the animals and birds which are unable to live on that day due to suffocation and breathlessness. There is a lake near my house and many birds come there daily for their retreat. But during Deepavali they feel helpless and try to flyaway far off places predicting impending danger to their lives. So at least for the sake of birds and animals we should desist from bursting crackers on that day.