Pietermaritzburg residents are opting for spectacle rather than noise for their Diwali celebrations this year. Firework dealers told The Witness on Tuesday that patrons have the safety of pets foremost in their minds this year, and have been buying flashy fireworks and not loud bangs in the lead-up to Diwali celebrations on Wednesday and Thursday. Firework shops, which generally operate seasonally, said they expected to get busy with last-minute shoppers this week. Owner of Magic Fireworks in Northdale Nakesh Lutchman said he had noticed fewer customers going for noisy fireworks. He said buyers were going for fountain fireworks which shoot colourful patterns in the air. “These are more affordable, and people also go for them because many people live in complexes and [these fireworks] are more pet-friendly.“We don’t market [loud fireworks] too much because we are pet owners ourselves. We still get people who come for loud fireworks, but people mainly want colour.”The owner of Firework City, also in Northdale, Rajesh Naipal, agreed that customers were becoming more pet conscious. He said he saw customers mainly going for fountain fireworks, pop pops and sparklers. Naipal said on average customers have each spent between R350 and R500 on fireworks this year. Lutchman said his customers on average spend about R300, and that people start buying fireworks about a week and a half before Diwali. He said some firework “fanatics” had forked out R2 850 for his most expensive firework, a display cake firework which shoots 100 times into the air. “Some guys want the high-end stuff.”He said his biggest sale this year was about R15 000. “You get a family of about 10 who all get together and everyone contributes; it’s not just one person buying.”The South African Hindu Maha Sabha, meanwhile, encouraged people celebrating Diwali to refrain from buying “big bang” fireworks. The organisation’s president, Ashwin Trikamjee, told The Witness that people should report shops who sell “illegal” overly loud fireworks, and that the Maha Sabha will ensure that the authorities deal with those shops. The Midlands Hindu Society implored residents to obey the designated times for lighting fireworks, which are from 7 pm and 10 pm on Wednesday and Thursday. It appealed to residents to be mindful of animals. The Msunduzi Municipality warned residents not to set off fireworks in public spaces, The Witness reported on Tuesday.