Festival of Lights

A celebration of the ‘victory of light over darkness, good over evil & knowledge over ignorance’



A celebration of the ‘victory of light over darkness, good over evil & knowledge over ignorance’

It is that time of the year again! Deepavali 2019 is around the corner!!
The beauty of most multi-cultural and multi-religious societies like Malaysia is the multiple religious celebrations observed by adherents of various faiths, all year round; plus the holidays are of course!

Also referred to as Diwali or Dipavali, Deepavali is known as the ‘festival of lights’. It is celebrated mainly by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs, though some Indian Buddhists also celebrate it. Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the day the evil Narakasura was slain by Lord Krishna. It signifies the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. With light as a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness, the festival of lights also signifies the triumph of knowledge over ignorance.

Deepavali is celebrated every autumn in the northern hemisphere. The date falls somewhere between mid-October to mid-November. The religious event falls on the day before the new moon based on the lunar calendar. It is a 5-day event, the climax of which is day 3, believed to coincide with the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. The 5-day celebration is preceded by massive spring-cleaning and renovation of homes and offices or other workplaces. There is lighting of oil lamps, known as diyas, in different areas of temples, shops, office buildings, and homes, especially on the porch and balcony. With the oil lamps or candles, prayers are made to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. The lamps are intended to ward off darkness and evil. Deepavali celebration features fireworks, prayers (or puja), giving of gifts and feasts. Traditional sweets and a wide range of Indian delicacies are served during the feasts.

Although Diwali is the biggest festival of India, it is celebrated around the world in much similar ways to that in India. The open-house local culture adds colour to the celebrations in countries like Indonesia, Singapore and across Malaysia,.In Mauritius, Deepavali is celebrated with 'lightening of earthen lamps in rows making images out of the rows'. Crackers are also burnt as a means of scaring away evil spirits. Diwali, is also known as Tihar in Nepal. It holds special significance here, with Nepal being the only Hindu kingdom in the world.

Day 1 of the 5-day celebration is dedicated to cows, while days 2 and 3 are respectively dedicated to dogs, and lights and lamps. Day 4 is for Yama, the god of death. Day 5 is called Bhhaya Dooj and it is dedicated to brothers, with wishes for long life and prosperity from their sisters. Diwali is also celebrated in other countries with large India populations like Britain, and in South Africa where it has been celebrated for 112 years by its 2% Asian population who are mostly of Indian origin.

Diwali is a national holiday in Trinidad & Tobago, and the celebration is similar to what obtains in India. Deepavali is also celebrated colourfully in Australia, the US and a number of other places across the world.

It is almost impossible not to feel the Diwali celebration. Adherents’ fine adornments in brightly coloured attires and, lighted interior and exterior of homes, offices, etc. all testify to the festivity in the atmosphere. There are also light in the streets and other public places including shopping malls and parks.

The 2019 Deepavali celebration falls on Sunday, October 27, 2019. Diwali is in the air and nations are already glittering with lights everywhere. If you live near adherents, don’t forget to send them ‘Happy Deepavali’ greetings. Virtual pujas, digital greeting cards, crackers, rockets and smileys with lots of lighted memes and gifs are good ways to share the joy of celebration with neighbours.

Happy Diwali 2019!

by Iyiade E.

DID YOU KNOW?

Gambling is Good!

Gambling is a tradition on Diwali and according to a mythological story- once goddess Parvati was playing dice with Lord Shiva and when she won, she announced that whosoever would gamble on the day of Diwali would mint wealth throughout the year.

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