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Many areas in the Himalayan state have prohibited the tradition of Deusi-Bhailo where groups of girls and boys go to their neighbors houses to sing and dance and in return get money and sweets. The festival is spread over five days in Nepal with different days for worshipping the crows, gods, cows and brothers.

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Nov. 6,fed by smoke from raging agricultural fires.By ASHOK SHARMA and SHONAL GANGULY,Thursday,Associated Press2020. Indias tally of coronavirus cases is currently the second largest in the world behind the United States. The government warns that the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)Indians shop for lights at a market ahead of Hindu festival Diwali in Bengaluru,and more than 128,second-most in the world,India,India.

People crowd a market place for Diwali festival shopping in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Authorities in New Delhi have banned firecrackers and are appealing to people to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights at home. Coronavirus infections have been rising in the capital and authorities are worried large festival crowds will worsen the virus situation.(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

NEW DELHI (AP) The crowds filling shopping areas ahead of the Diwali festival of lights on Saturday are raising hopes of Indias distressed business community after months of lockdown losses but also spawning fears of a massive coronavirus upsurge.

If we compare our business to last years, then its only 40 percent right now. Sixty percent of customers are not there. Because everyone is afraid of COVID-19, said Jitender Sachdeva, a shop owner in New Delhis upscale Sarojini market.

general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders.Indias festive mood raises fears of surge of coronavirusPeople wait in a queue to test for COVID-19 in New Delhi,Associated Press writer Binaj Gurubacharya contributed from Kathmandu,festive LED lights and electronics in favor of locally made products following Indias border standoff with China.Traders are hoping for the Diwali festival sales touching $8 million.

With this boycott, China is set to lose business worth about $5.3 million in the Indian market this festive season, said B. C. Bhartia, president of the Confederation of All India Traders.

For Indias nearly 70 million traders, who employ about 400 million people, an upturn could not come fast enough.

Lanterns are displayed for sale as people shop ahead of Diwali festival in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Indias tally of coronavirus cases is currently the second largest in the world behind the United States. The government warns that the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Indian women paint miniature models of houses as they make them for sale ahead of Diwali festival, in Prayagraj, India, Thursday, Non. 12, 2020. People buy them to decorate their homes during Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of lights which will be celebrated on Nov 14. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

But several say they are trying not to let their hopes get too high since the crowds could be seeking bargains and people are cautious in spending their money during the pandemic.

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Most people are shopping for flowers, sweets, dry fruits, candles and lamps for Diwali. The Hindu celebrations of Dussehra, Diwali and Durga Puja in October and November each year are also an occasion to splurge on big-ticket items like gold, homes and cars as well as clothing, smartphones and electronics.

Indias festival season this year started on a subdued note with Dussehra celebrations last month, but traders say now people have come out of homes and are flocking to shopping areas in key Indian cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Patna, this week.

Indias Hindu festivals draw tens of thousands of people, packed in temples, shopping districts and family gatherings exchanging gifts.

said Praveen Khandelwal,2020. Indias tally of coronavirus cases is currently the second largest in the world behind the United States. The government warns that the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)On Diwali night,a large number of people are seen ignoring masks and social distancing norms in major Indian cities and towns. India has confirmed more than 8.7 million cases of coronavirus infection,India,Friday,Thursday,Thursday,India,

The past three days have seen a tremendous increase in customer footfall in shopping markets for festival purchases, he said.

A woman without a mask walks in a crowded market selling toys in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Authorities in New Delhi have banned firecrackers and are appealing to people to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights at home. Coronavirus infections have been rising in the capital and authorities are worried large festival crowds will worsen the virus situation. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Thursday,Nov. 12,2020. Authorities in New Delhi have banned firecrackers and are appealing to people to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights at home. Coronavirus infections have been rising in the capital and authorities are worried large festival crowds will worsen the virus situation.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)Indians throng a market for shopping ahead of Hindu festival Diwali in Ahmedabad,Khandelwal said.The Highest Paying Cash Back Card Is Finally HereHealth experts warn of crowded festival celebrations causing a virus resurgence that batters Indias health care system. New Delhi already has seen rising cases with more than 7,000 daily in recent days and a rising death toll as well.People whove restricted their purchases to essentials for months appear to be in a celebratory mood and traders are lapping it up,people lit up the sky with firecrackers their smoke causing air pollution that takes days to clear. New Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has banned firecrackers this year. A thick smog lingered over the Indian capital and its suburbs on Friday,2020. Authorities in New Delhi have banned firecrackers and are appealing to people to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights at home. Coronavirus infections have been rising in the capital and authorities are worried large festival crowds will worsen the virus situation. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)People crowd a market place for Diwali festival shopping in Mumbai,Nov. 12,India,2020. Authorities in New Delhi have banned firecrackers and are appealing to people to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights at home. Coronavirus infections have been rising in the capital and authorities are worried large festival crowds will worsen the virus situation. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)But among the millions of shoppers,Nov.12,600 fatalities.You are using an older browser version. Please use asupported versionfor the best MSN experience.People throng a market to shop ahead of the Diwalli festival in New Delhi,Nepal.A bright spot is domestic brands are getting a boost from a trend to boycott inexpensive Chinese-made statues of Hindu deities,Nov. 12.

I had gone to the market and there is a lot of crowd because of Diwali. So I think it (coronavirus) may spread more, Payal Jha, a 20-year-old student, said.

In neighboring Nepal, another predominant Hindu nation, people appear to have responded better to a government appeal to celebrate the festival indoors and only with immediate family and avoid large gatherings or public celebrations.

In upscale areas, authorities and traders authorities have put up coronavirus protocols in place, but the crush of people waiting to get in was a major cause of concern for traders. There are announcements over the public address systems to wear masks and maintain safe distance.