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In pictures: Diwali celebrated across South Asia amid pandemic, pollution fears

Although traditional revelry was mute, there was no sign that people were staying home.
Published 15 Nov, 2020 12:27am

More than a billion Indians celebrated Diwali on Saturday amid twin concerns of a resurgence in coronavirus infections and rising air pollution that is enveloping the country's north in a cloud of thick toxic smog.

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is typically celebrated by socialising and exchanging gifts with friends and family, and lighting oil lamps or candles to symbolise a victory of light over darkness. Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations.

But this year, the pandemic is upending some of the celebrations in India, particularly in New Delhi, which has seen a renewed spike in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks.

However, although traditional revelry was mute, there was no sign that people were staying at home. As in India, people in countries from Pakistan to Malaysia celebrated the biggest Hindu holiday of the year with lights, fireworks and meet-ups with friends.

Fireworks explode during Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, over Chennai, India on Saturday. — AFP
Fireworks explode during Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, over Chennai, India on Saturday. — AFP

A family lights a sparkler during Diwali in Faridabad, India on Saturday. — AFP
A family lights a sparkler during Diwali in Faridabad, India on Saturday. — AFP

People light firecrackers during Diwali in Allahabad, India on November 14. — AFP
People light firecrackers during Diwali in Allahabad, India on November 14. — AFP

Hindu women celebrate Diwali at Krishna Mandir in Lahore on November 14. — AFP
Hindu women celebrate Diwali at Krishna Mandir in Lahore on November 14. — AFP

People watch as firecrackers burn during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in New Delhi, India, November 14. — Reuters
People watch as firecrackers burn during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in New Delhi, India, November 14. — Reuters

Students from the government girls hostel prepare to burn a Covid-19 coronavirus model during Diwali in Hyderabad, India. — AFP
Students from the government girls hostel prepare to burn a Covid-19 coronavirus model during Diwali in Hyderabad, India. — AFP

Sikh devotees watch as fireworks explode on the occasion of Bandi Chhor Divas, a Sikh festival coinciding with Diwali, over the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India on November 14. — AFP
Sikh devotees watch as fireworks explode on the occasion of Bandi Chhor Divas, a Sikh festival coinciding with Diwali, over the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India on November 14. — AFP

A Hindu family lights clay lamps during a ceremony to celebrate Diwali at Swami Narayan temple in Karachi, Saturday. — AP
A Hindu family lights clay lamps during a ceremony to celebrate Diwali at Swami Narayan temple in Karachi, Saturday. — AP

A layer of smog envelops the skyline as residential buildings are decorated with colourful lights during Diwali on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Saturday. — AP
A layer of smog envelops the skyline as residential buildings are decorated with colourful lights during Diwali on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Saturday. — AP

Hindu women celebrate Diwali at Krishna Mandir in Lahore on November 14. — AFP
Hindu women celebrate Diwali at Krishna Mandir in Lahore on November 14. — AFP

Lights illuminate Kathmandu valley during the Tihar festival, also called Diwali, in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 14. — Reuters
Lights illuminate Kathmandu valley during the Tihar festival, also called Diwali, in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 14. — Reuters

The front of the Tate Britain art gallery is illuminated with a light installation by artist Chila Kumari Burman to celebrate the festival of Diwali in London, Britain, November 14. — Reuters
The front of the Tate Britain art gallery is illuminated with a light installation by artist Chila Kumari Burman to celebrate the festival of Diwali in London, Britain, November 14. — Reuters

Hindu devotees worship a dog as part of offerings for Tihar which is the local name for Diwali at a dog care centre in Kathmandu, Nepal. — AFP
Hindu devotees worship a dog as part of offerings for Tihar which is the local name for Diwali at a dog care centre in Kathmandu, Nepal. — AFP


Header image: People play with fireworks during Diwali, the festival of lights, in Prayagraj, India on Saturday. — AP