Fes­ti­val of Lights around the world

The Sun (Malaysia) - - LIFESTYLE -

ONE of the most sig­nif­i­cant fes­ti­vals in In­dian cul­ture, Di­wali or Deep­avali, also known as the Fes­ti­val of Lights, sees mil­lions at­tend fire­work dis­plays, prayers and cel­e­bra­tory events across the world.

The fes­ti­val is cel­e­brated by Hin­dus for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, al­though the main theme is the tri­umph of light over dark­ness and good over evil.

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.

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.

Deep­avali is a five-day fes­ti­val cel­e­brated by mil­lions of Hin­dus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The fes­ti­val, which co­in­cides with the Hindu New Year, cel­e­brates new be­gin­nings and the tri­umph of good over evil and light over dark­ness.

The ac­tual day of Di­wali is tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­brated on the fes­ti­val’s third day, which this year falls on Oct 29.

While each faith has its own rea­son to cel­e­brate the fes­ti­val, one of the most pop­u­lar sto­ries told is the leg­end of Lord Rama and his wife Sita re­turn­ing to their king­dom in north­ern In­dia from ex­ile af­ter de­feat­ing the de­mon king Ra­vanna in the 15th cen­tury BC.

Dur­ing Deep­avali, fam­i­lies and friends share sweets and gifts and there is also a strong be­lief in giv­ing food and goods to those in need. It is also tra­di­tional for homes to be cleaned and new clothes to be worn at the time of the fes­ti­val.

The food most closely as­so­ci­ated with the fes­ti­val is In­dian sweets, which come in a range of colours and flavours. The cel­e­bra­tion, how­ever, fea­tures var­i­ous rich savoury and sweet dishes, and while eat­ing out is pop­u­lar, fam­i­lies will mostly pre­pare food at home for when guests ar­rive to ex­change gifts and watch fire­works.

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 young mem­bers in the fam­ily will ask for­give­ness from their par­ents be­fore re­ceiv­ing their Deep­avali money pack­ets.

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. And of course, the de­li­cious mut­ton and chicken curry that can be eaten with the tho­sai or putu mayam. – Agen­cies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.