Diwali is the five-day Hindu festival of lights, and beginning on Saturday, friends and family will come together to feast, set off fireworks and light colorful lamps. For many of the country's 1.3 billion people, it's the most important festival of the year and is equivalent in importance to Christmas in many Western countries.But this year, it's being held during a global pandemic.
India has reported more than 8.7 million coronavirus cases, more than any other country in the world besides the United States. While the country is now reporting fewer cases than at its peak in September, cases are rising again in the capital New Delhi, which reported a record number of daily fatalities on Thursday. The authorities are warning holidaymakers to practice social distancing, but this week market places continued to throng with shoppers ahead of the festive season. And in most parts of India, including Delhi, people are still allowed to hold gatherings of up to 200 people.