A colourful festival or festival of lights some may call; celebrated by all Hindus worldwide is Deepavali. This festival usually falls around late October and November. One important practice that the Hindus follow during the festival is to light oil lamps in their homes on Deepavali morning. By lighting the oil lamps, the Hindus are thanking the gods for the happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth that they have received. The Hindus consider Deepavali as one of the most important festivals to celebrate.
The Legend -
There is even an interesting legend behind this festival. The story goes that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Krishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil!
Preparation for Deepavali starts usually at least two to three weeks before the festival. It is known in our country the Hindus will be busy cleaning their houses to prepare for the festival. Some would even renovate include painting; furniture changes may take effect to prepare it for Deepavali. Shoppin! Is the usual drill for the family to shop for new clothes and for accessories to decorate their homes. Prior to the festival, Indian shops will be selling festive items like Deepavali greeting cards, carpets, sarees, Jigpa’s and Kurtas, Punjabi suits and flowers. The Hindus will have frequent visits to these shops when it is Deepavali Season. Food supplies will also be accounted as Deepavali main event will be spent on food most of the time esp for all types of people.
The Hindus usually wake early in the morning of Deepavali around 3am (Brahmamuhurta) and the first ritual will be having an oil bath (Containing Nallenei & Siakai), which is an important feature of Deepavali. Hindus will be dressed in their new clothes on Deepavali. Most of the ladies would be clad in silk saris or Punjabi suits of various bright shades. Hindus particularly dislike dressing in black on that day, as they consider black an inauspicious colour for the festival. Hindus would also pay their respects to the elderly and most families would go to the temple before having breakfast. This is also an important practice for them. The houses would be decorated in the day and illuminated by night with oil lamps and children will play with firecrackers to celebrate the festival under elders’ provisional guide. On the first day, they would not go visiting but would stay at home to welcome the guests who visit them.
Visiting Hindus during Deepavali is an interesting activity in Malaysia, as you will get to taste a wide variety of delicious food. In every home that you visit you are bound to be served with a tempting spread of sweets. Some of the popular sweets are Kolkattai, Murukku, Jilebi, Athirasam, Halwa, Burfi and Laddu. Hindus love eating spicy food and for non-vegetarians they indulge in favourites like chicken tandoori, prawn sambal and fish head curry. In homes of Hindus who are vegetarian’s popular dishes are like thosais, idlis, pooris and naans are prepared.
So, I’m sure this wonderful day is awaited with great sense of joy and happiness by all of us. In a happy mood of great rejoicing, air of freedom, festivity and friendliness everywhere, lets us forget and forgive all the wrong done by others and pray for the unity of our fellow beings. Therefore, for this Deepavali, Kalaiselvan.V wishes my entire fellow brother’s and sister’s out there a HAPPY PROSPEROUS DEEPAVALI for the year 2011.