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DEEPAVALI/ DIVALI
Ben van Wijnen


Kolam made by student in the Pavilion


Deepavali or Divali or the festival of lights is observed by Hindus in recognition of the triumph of good over evil in the seventh month of the Hindu calendar. Thanksgiving prayers and cleansing rituals take place at temple and household altars throughout the country. 

Deepavai is celebrated on the Hindu month of Kartik in October / November. It is also called the Festivals of Lights. 
It's a day of festive joy and Malaysians visit their friends of Hindu faith to extend good wishes and to partake in the feasting and jollity.

The word "Deepavali" is a combination of the words ‘Dipa’ and ‘Gavali’, the former meaning ‘light’ and the latter meaning ‘a row’. Thus symbolizing the rows of lights that can be seen at the houses of Hindu celebrants. As light dispels, this festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

 

Several days before the celebration of Deepavali the houses of the Hindus as well as their surrounding areas are cleaned from top to bottom.
The entrances of Hindu homes are decorated with the ‘kolam’, an intricate floral design on the ground which signifies religious believes. This religious connotation, revolves around the Goddess of Wealth, the deity Lakshimi (Laksmi). Many believe that the Goddess Lakshimi (Laksmi) would only enter a home with a ‘kolam’ at the entrance.
The glow of lights, whether “vilakku”  (oil lamps fashioned out of clay) or colourful electric bulbs, brighten up the abode of both rich and poor, signalling the coming festivities
festival of the lights

The Hindus would prepare numerous traditional cakes and sweets for the day, among them are "murukku", "omopadi", "athirrsam", "achi murukku", "laddu" and "mysore pahu". These are made a few days before Deepavali.

On Deepavali morning, many Hindu devotees awaken before sunrise for the ritual herbal oil bath., They put on new clothes. Then they go to the temples where prayers are held in accordance with the ceremonial rites.
 
The rest of the day they distribute cakes and sweets to their neighbours and friends and many have "open house" for their non-Hindu friends, as is customary in Malaysia. 
Most devout Hindus tend to be vegetarian, but that doesn't change the fact that Deepavali is the day to savour the many delicious Indian delicacies such as sweetmeats, rice puddings and the ever-popular murukku.

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Have a look also: PONGGAL FESTIVAL <click>

 

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