Thursday, November 08, 2007

DEEPAVALI: The Great Festival of Lights

Today is a big celebration for our Hindu brothers in Malaysia and Singapore. They are celebrating the Deepavali (Diwali) with a billion Hindus in India and around the world. The Deepavali is more famously known as the Festival of Lights -- which marks the victory of good over evil, the triumph of light over darkness.

Deepavali is a time of renewal. This is also the time when past quarrels are forgotten and people forgive each other. Don’t we just love occasions like this? People are in a festive mood and smiling more. Extra kind and extra generous! Just like Songkran, Hari Raya or Christmas.

Days or even weeks before the actual day of Deepavali, anticipation runs high. Homes are immaculately cleaned; holiday decors here and there and women painstakingly make a sand mandala. Little India’s in our region are decorated with thousands of colorful light bulbs to mesmerize us all. A more traditional approach is lighting little oil lamps made of clay.

These are all done to invite and welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity – who is believed to visit temples and homes on the actual Deepavali day. It is also said that Lakshmi will not enter an unlit house.

The night before is hectic with last-minute preparations for the big day. On Deepavali morning, Hindu devotees are already up before sunrise for the oil bath ritual – they do this to signify purity and cleaning their bodies and minds. After that, they go straight to the temple and pray more.

As traditions of Hindus in Malaysia and Singapore, the rest of the day is for receiving guests and visitors. Oh, this is my favorite part! Visiting my Indian friends and sampling all those delectable Indian dishes and sweets! But this is vegetarian food smorgasbord. Hindus are typically vegetarians – so, good for me! Young people usually end the day with street parties or going to a nightspot with their friends. A chance to celebrate it with their Chinese and Malay friends.

Today, on the auspicious Deepavali -- I renew my friendship and high regards to all our Hindu brothers and sisters. Now I’m off to my friends’ house and celebrate with them.

Andariki Deepavali Shubhakankshalu!


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eyron said...

i never really had the idea that this festival is somehow related to the festive mood (giving and sharing) of christmas for christian

but since its christmas season here in the philippines lakshmi would probably had the dilemna which house she will visit. does she know the difference between christmas light and lights dedicated to her. LOL

Mariani said...

either which way eyron, its a win win situation. do you refuse good luck and blessings?

Ahmed said...

happy diwali

Prince of Jaipur said...

It's not related to Christmas, Eyron. It's LIKE Christmas. Read again.

Aryana Chaundry said...

Awww! That's so sweet. Thanks for this post. And I renew my friendship with you too. Deepavali Shubhakankshalu!

Morgan H. said...

Malaysia and Singapore gets all holidays! */sigh/

Dexter said...

I also hope Ganesh would play around today! I would welcome Him with lotsa sweets! Ganesha sharanam, sharanam Ganesha! Happy Deepavali.

eyron said...

hehe, aww!

@prince of jaipur:
noticed the 'somehow' to the 'festive mood'

Ravi said...

Deepavali Vazhthukkal to all, let all the darkness fade away from everyone's life.

Arunny Chantou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arunny Chantou said...

Happy Deepavali everybody. I always believe that celebrations like this is a celebration of all. I like what Ravi said. It warms my heart.

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