By Shadan Muneer
Houses adorned with diyas and lanterns, sparkling lights, dazzling outfits, mouth-watering delicacies, bonanza of gifts — what does all these revelries have in common? Yes, it is that time of the year again when everyone is looking forward to the most-awaited festival of lights — Deepavali.
Apart from signifying the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, Deepavali infuses energy, excitement, enthusiasm and fanfare unlike any other Indian festival. But this year due to the outbreak of deadly COVID-19, it is going to be a low-key affair as the shadow of Corona still looms large. The State Government has banned firecrackers and given guidelines for the use of green crackers which do not release dust.
Though the markets are alive with festive buzz, general public are still pondering over their preparations for Deepavali. Corona has engulfed the consciousness of the revellers and many are still not prepared to embrace the festivities.
With an intention of ushering in positivity and ring in the festival bells, here are a few tips on how to celebrate Deepavali safely as well as pompously this year.
Dr. Satish Kumar and Dr. Shri Harshvardhan, senior medical experts from the city, have passed on a few professional inputs to provide you with some insights on social distancing and safe merriment.
Dr. Satish Kumar points out “Avoid using firecrackers as exposure to smoke can cause cough, burning in the eyes and aggravate respiratory related ailments. Staying safe does not only apply to bursting crackers but also includes protecting yourself from becoming a victim. Following the safety protocols will ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy the festival safely.”
Dr. Shri Harshvardhan advises “Elderly and those who have recovered from Coronavirus need to take extra care as lung function gets compromised after the virus attack. Smoke emanating from firecrackers can impact the immunity of the lungs; so this year be cautious while celebrating the festival keeping in mind the prevailing pandemic.”
The doctors have provided few helpful guidelines to be followed so as to ensure a safe and healthy Deepavali.
Mask is a must: It will be very hard to stay indoors during Deepavali as it’s a norm to greet your family and friends. So, ensure that you step out wearing mask that covers your mouth and nose properly as it is the best way to stay away from COVID-19 as well as cracker pollution.
Use soaps rather than sanitisers: Lighting diyas is an intrinsic part of Deepavali celebrations and during such occasions, refrain from using alcohol-based sanitiser before lighting diyas and candles as they are inflammable and can easily catch fire. Also, make sure to keep them away from the area where diyas are placed.
Social distancing has to be the norm: If you don’t observe social distancing, you are sure to welcome COVID-19 along with Deepavali and its highly recommended to avoid handshakes and hugs. And also ensure that the elderly and kids stay at home rather than indulging in the regular celebrations as they are more prone to the virus attack.
Refrain from visiting eateries: Eating out and merry making is part of Deepavali celebrations. However, it is best to avoid consuming any eatables from outside and rather it is better to make homemade sweets and enjoy home cooked traditional meal.
Deepavali is synonymous with exchanging of gifts, but the pandemic has affected the gifting spirit. But you can continue the tradition this year too but with the difference by gifting immunity boosting foods instead of the traditional sweet box which you can shop online from the comfort of your homes.
Adjust to the new normal and get creative. The spirit of festival is felt the most when people come together as a family and community but people who are staying away from the family will not be able to travel with as much ease as before. Connecting with them through the technology will be the best option. Make a list of interesting activities and games that you can play as a family which will definitely brighten up your festive spirit.
If you are planning to invite guests, keep it limited because larger the gathering, higher is the risk of being affected by the virus. Ensure that the guests who walk in are in good health so that you can enjoy the celebration together and not let it be the cause of misery by negligence. It is the time when everyone wants to look their best; put your best foot forward and look gorgeous in dazzling outfits — experimenting with your looks is also fun.
COVID -19 will soon be gone and we will have memorable Deepavali celebrations in the coming years. Be safe and keep your loved ones safe too this Deepavali.