What is Deepavali
Deepavali or as its sometimes called “Diwali” or “Festival of Lights” falls in the seventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar, which is usually in either October or November. This year Deepavali will fall on the 13th November 2012. There are various versions on how this festival came about. Here in Malaysia, Deepavali is celebrated as the day when the evil Narakasura was slain by Lord Krishna. The triumph of good (light) over evil (evil).
Deepavali Decoration and Preparation
As with most festivals in Malaysia, the eve is usually busy with last-minute preparations for the big day. The house is spring cleaned and new curtains are put up. At the main doorway, they put Mango leaves to bring blessings into the home. In line with its Festival of Lights theme, the entire house is lit with oil lamp filling up the ambience with a warm and soft glow. A unique decoration which is only found on Deepavali day and with no other festivals in Malaysia is the “Kolam”. “Kolam” is a decorative art using rice grains and food colouring drawn on the floor. The designs are so beautiful that even major shopping mall and hotels are put huge beautifully design “Kolam” in their lobby. On Deepavali morning, many Hindu devotees awaken before sunrise for the ritual oil bath. This ritual bath is known as “ganga-snanam” and its done to cleanse ones impurities of the past year. Then it’s straight to the temples where prayers are held in accordance with the ceremonial rites.
Open houses are a norm with most festivals in Malaysia. And food is a major highlight in each and every open house. Deepavali open houses is where you will see traditional Indian cuisine. The must have sweets and cookies are murukku, vadai, ommapadi, chippi, atharasum, nei orundei, jelebi, gulab jamun, ladu , palkova and kesari.
A few days before Deepavali leading to Deepavali day is a great time to visit Melaka’s Little India, where most of the Hindu community’s festivities take place. The whole street is beautifully decorated and lighted up. Shop are loaded with flower garlands, fine clothing, spices, and traditional Indian food.