Deepavali Festival of Lights

24 November 2018

Being a melting pot of culture and diversity, Malaysia has many colourful and interesting festivals and traditions, providing an enjoyable experience for visitors to learn about Malaysia and participate in our celebrations.

If you are to name the major festivals celebrated in Malaysia, surely one of them would be Deepavali for the Hndu.

Deepavali, famously known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated for many reasons. Some celebrate the date as the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after years of exile, and some quarters believe it represents the triumph of light (good) over darkness (evil) while it is also a special day to honor Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. No one will deny, though, that the day is truly a special day for all Hindus, one that is much celebrated with customs and fanfare.

There are many traditions associated with Deepavali. Clay lamps play a significant role throughout the celebration, as having lights at home is considered a virtue.

The other defining symbol of Deepavali is the ‘kolam’. It is actually an ornate decoration made by spreading coloured rice grains into a beautiful pattern on the floor.

‘Kolams’ can vary in size, colour and symbol, but all are spectacular and mesmerising. Such a finesse of art, some ‘kolam’ takes a few hours to make, or even days to finish, and it needs the touch of an artist to perfect it. The colourful and lively motifs also add to the joyous atmosphere of Deepavali. Both auspicious and symbolic, it is believed that ‘kolam’ is a symbol of reverence for all life.

Deepavali in Malaysia comes with all types of mouth-watering food. For instance, the most popular savoury snack is muruku - the favourite snack not to be missed. Made from dhal flour, the crunchy snack is almost a must in every home. There are sweets (mithai), too, such as laddu and barfi to tickle your taste buds.

During this time, Hindu families will dress up in their finest garments and visit the temples to offer prayers. Among the popular temples in the city are Sri Mahamariamman, Sri Sakti Vinayagar, Sri Raja Rajeswary and many more.

As the icing on the cake, a visit to the mother of all temples – Batu Caves Temple – completes the occasion. The famous temple – just 17 km from the city centre – goes back to the year of 1920, with 272 steps leading to its pinnacle. Rising almost 100 meters above the ground, the Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves ready to welcome thousands of devotees on this very day.

This year’s Deepavali falls on 6 November, however the national-level Deepavali celebration, organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, will be held on 24 November at the Pandamaran Sports Complex in Klang, Selangor. Expect a colourful celebration of dances and cultural performances, delightful food and fun activities for the entire family!

Pandamaran Sports Complex, Klang, Selangor

Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture

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