Understanding Deepavali

18th of October (this Wednesday) is a special day in Malaysia and around different parts of Asia, can you guess why? If you are local, you would most probably know the answer to this questions but a lot of foreigners staying in Malaysia for a while might not be aware of the fact that this wednesday one of the biggest Hindu festivals is about to take place. It is called Deepavali or Diwali.

Deepavali, or Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights that celebrates, well… Lights. The most common understanding of the festival itself is the symbolic fight between darkness and light, good and evil, ignorance and knowledge or love and hate. Sounds a little bit like a Star Wars scenario indeed. Around malls all over Malaysia you will see plenty of Kolam art which is a beautiful art made of coloured rice drawn on the floor.

Kolam: A traditional art form made by coloured rice and drawn on the floor.

Accodring to Public Holidays Global website, the background of the festival iteslf lies in a few Hindu folklore stories and legends:

There are several different legendary backgrounds for Deepavali celebrations in the Hindu writings. One story tells of how Rama returned to reclaim his throne after a 14-year banishment. Because the night when he returned was exceptionally dark, the people of his city lit clay lamps at all their houses, thus lighting the path as he made his way to his throne.

Furthermore:

Others see Deepavali as a time to honour Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity and light clay lamps at their homes so she can find them and bless them. Either way, the clay lamps which you see lighting up homes and businesses during Deepavali are the reason it is also known as “the Festival of Lights.” The more abstract meaning of the festival is a symbolic display of the triumph of light (good) over darkness (evil).

Celebration of this event involves a huge light show with numerous colourful lights posted all over the place. The whole festival is accompanied with plenty of fireworks and Indian sweets that people happily indulge in. We reccommend you visit Little India during this festival if you wish to get the authentic Hindu cuultural experience.

Colourful light show in one of many Malaysian streets decorated in the same manner during Deepavali festival.

If you have Indian friends you are lucky because Deepavali also means open houses! To clarify, lots of local Indian families in Malaysia open their doors for family and friends to visit during the festival. Great traditional experience, good company and great local Indian food guarantees a very memorable experience.

Roomz.asia team wishes you blessed and prosperous Deepavali.