India celebrates 1st Diwali in 3 years without Covid restrictions

New Delhi, Oct 24 (EFE).- India celebrates the Hindu festival of Diwali on Monday without Covid-19 restrictions for the first time in three years.

On this important Hindu celebration, also known as the festival of lights, millions decorate their homes with candles and lights.

It is also customary to visit family and friends at this time and exchange gifts and sweets.

“Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali. Diwali is associated with brightness and radiance. May this auspicious festival further the spirit of joy and well-being in our lives. I hope you have a wonderful Diwali with family and friends,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

As per Hindu mythology, Diwali marks the return of the Hindu Lord Ram to his kingdom after defeating the demon king Ravana in Sri Lanka, which also marked the end of his 14 years of exile.

People light up their homes and public spaces to celebrate his return, and also to welcome Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, who is believed to visit people’s houses on this day.

This Diwali is the first in two years not to be overshadowed by restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the burning of firecrackers has become a tradition during the Hindu festival, the widespread prevalence of this practice leads to a thick blanket of toxic haze in and around the capital every year.

As in previous years, the New Delhi authorities have banned the burning of firecrackers and imposed new penalties of up to six months in prison and a fine of 200 rupees (about $2.4) on those who engage in the practice.

Apart from firecrackers on the night of Diwali, other factors that contribute to the deterioration of air quality in the Indian capital, which is among the most polluted in the world, are coal burning, toxic gases generated by the construction sector, emission from private vehicles, and biomass burning in rural areas along with lower temperatures at this time of the year. EFE


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