/‘GREEN’ Harvest Festivals – Conservation of Resources and Environment

‘GREEN’ Harvest Festivals – Conservation of Resources and Environment

All around India, Harvest Festivals like Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Bihu and many more have a great cultural significance. These are celebrated to worship god and signify a new harvest season. Though all of us should celebrate these festivals with utmost enthusiasm, we should know the consequences they pose on the environment. Here are some ways in which we can take part in all the fun of these festivals without harming the environment.

Lohri – In many parts of North India, including Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, people celebrate their harvest by lighting bonfires. They add parts of their harvest into the holy fire and sit around it, eating, singing and dancing. Since hundreds of families do this individually, it creates a lot of pollution in the region around this time. Instead, people from the same societies, areas or villages can come together and collectively have one bonfire instead of many.

Makar Sankranti – During Makar Sankranti, one of the most significant rituals is Kite Flying. The string used for these kites, also known as Manja, is made of glass. This results in several birds getting hurt or even dying due to the harsh strings. These days, we can find soft jute or cloth manjas that serve the purpose and are a much safer alternative. BIHU – One of the main components of  Bihu,  is the feast or the Urukal.  A night before the festival,  many traditional dishes are cooked for the feast that follows. On Bihu, people offer lots of this food to the fire. This leads to excessive wastage of food. Instead, everyone should offer a small amount of food to a smaller version of the fire for the significance and distribute the rest of the food to the needy. After all, it’s the quality that matters, not the quantity.

Vallam Kali – During the harvest festival of Kerala, the Vallam Kali Snake-boat racing is extremely popular. Teams of up to 128 members now have extremely large snake-boats, 35 metres across the Pamba River. Such large numbers of canoes sometimes harm the underwater flora and fauna. A better option would be to make smaller teams and use small-sized boats that do not disrupt life underwater.

These are just some of the ways in which we can ensure that festivals do not harm the environment.