In Goa, people burnt giant effigies of demon ‘Narakasura’ in the early hours to begin Diwali celebrations, while Chief Minister Pramod Sawant extended greetings to the people and urged them to buy local products to celebrate the festival.
Goa has a long held tradition of making the effigies of Narakasura and burning them on Diwali, marking the victory of good over evil. The ‘Narakasur Vadh’ (killing of the demon) competitions were held across the coastal state to celebrate the festival.
“It symbolises the victory of good over evil. An artiste dressed as Lord Krishna performs Narakasura Vadh in the early morning hours. This is how we celebrate Diwali,” said Panaji-based historian Sanjeev Sardesai.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who returned from AIIMS Delhi after 15 days of treatment, celebrated the festival with children at the Balika Ashram Tutikandi in Shimla and distributed sweets and fruits among them.
Bursting of firecrackers was restricted to just two hours in the state to prevent noise and air pollution in the hills and only “green crackers” were permitted.
In Jharkhand, too, revellers got a two-hour window from 8 pm to 10 pm to burst firecrackers. Similar windows will be allowed on Gurupurab, Chhat, Christmas and New Year but the timings will vary, according to officials.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah greeted people of the state on Diwali and also appealed to them to use only green crackers to avoid fire accidents, and check pollution that can complicate the health of patients with respiratory and cardio-related ailments.
“The state government has given permission to use green crackers to check air and sound pollution, and fire accidents. Various chemicals used in the crackers lead to many health complications,” Siddaramaiah said in a video message.
“The air and sound pollution cause severe health hazard to those suffering from asthma, lung and heart diseases. Birds and animals undergo silent pain. Hence, I appeal to the citizens that they must use only green crackers,” he added.