Times of India | 2 months ago | 27-09-2022 | 07:40 am
Panaji: Villagers in Taleigao have decided to reduce the noise quotient for church feasts while sustaining old traditions, a move that has sparked debate on whether other festivals too should be made less noisy. Konnsachem fest, the harvest festival, was celebrated by the Taleigao comunidade at the St Michael church on August 21 with the usual pomp, piety and fireworks. Firing of khoznem or petards — more popularly called foznem — sparked some complaints from the elderly and nearby residents about the high-decibel noise. Taking a considerate view of their trauma, the comunidade immediately convened a meeting to consider dropping foznem from the festival pageantry. “The people unanimously spoke about continuing the centuries-old tradition, but agreed to tone down the sound levels of foznem,” said Taleigao comunidate attorney Xavier Almeida. The move was implemented in a jiffy as the novena for the feast of St Michael, the village church’s patron saint, commenced on Friday. “Only about half the gunpowder used to blow foznem was packed to reduce sound,” a source said.Petards are not a religious requirement but more of an extravaganza that is part of all community festivals. In a society that’s already stressed, fireworks during festivals add to the trauma. Taking cognisance of complaints, the Taleigao comunidade fraternity expressed disappointment during the meeting about the smoke pollution and cacophonous celebrations of other festivals they have to cope with in silence.Social activists, while urging authorities to implement plans to control noise and smoke pollution, called for efforts by various communities to ease out the suffering during festivities. “In the cacophony of sounds we are surrounded in, noisy fireworks greatly enhance our psychological stress. If it is enjoyment for some, it surely is a crude one, as others sensitive to noise — elders, infants and animals — suffer badly. For a healthy society, everybody needs to think about more peaceful celebrations,” said Ramesh Gauns, a Bicholim-based social activist.