- The word Deepavali is originally from the ancient Sanskrit language which means ‘the row of light’
- It is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November each year.
- The actual date is based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar and marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.
- Approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population celebrate Deepavali (about 900 million to one billion people).
- On the eve of Deepavali, Lord Siva is said to descend to earth and dance the tandava (cosmic dance).
- All the devas (gods) and other celestial beings come down to earth to watch the event as Siva tramples and crushes evil forces that plague the earth. Hence, offering prayers on the eve of Deepavali is equivalent to offering prayers to all the deities in one go.
HOW DEEPAVALI IS CELEBRATED:
- Food (sweets)
HOW TO DRESS ON DEEPAVALI
Saree, Kurta, Salwar Kameez, Dhoti
The clothes worn during this festive period are new and brightly-coloured to reflect the joy and excitement of the festivities.
DEEPAVALI CELEBRATIONS IN MALAYSIA
Oil bath: On the first day of Deepavali, everyone in the family takes an oil bath before sunrise.
Pray: They visit temples for prayers and ceremonial rites.
Food: Friends and neighbours are invited to homes to have a taste of homemade Deepavali sweets.
Diyas: On this day, people light tiny diyas (earthen lamps) to illuminate their house with bright lights.
SWEETS & DESSERTS
Lado: Made from besan (chickpea flour) and consist of cardamom, pistachios and a touch of saffron.
Jalebi: Another well-known Indian mithai (sweets), it is made of sugar and besan (chickpea flour).
Burfi: Sweets made of whole milk and sugar, garnished with cardamom and pistachios.
Gulab Jamum: A tasty circular mithar (sweets), it comes in sugary syrup and is a favourite among many Indians.
AROUND THE WORLD
It is an official holiday in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Singapore and Fiji.
Regardless of the mythological explanation one may prefer, what the festival of lights really means for today is a reaffirmation of hope, renewed commitment to religion, friendship and goodwill.
By Kumuthavalli Shroom, 18, Kuala Lumpur
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