Deepavali is the most important celebration for Hindus worldwide and this year it falls on October 29. The celebration, which is also referred to as the Festival of Lights, symbolises the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
Deepavali’s origins lie in a festival in India that marked the end of the harvest season before the onset of winter. People marked this festival by praying and seeking blessings from Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity for the months ahead. Families would gather together to enjoy traditional food and sweets, play with fireworks and light clay lamps.
To this day, the presence of light is an important feature of Deepavali. Hindus believe that on this joyous occasion, Lakshmi will descend from the heavens and for this reason, those celebrating Deepavali will light clay lamps and decorate their houses with colourful lights in the hope that Lakshmi will enter their homes and bless their family.
While many still hold fast to Deepavali’s religious and cultural origins, the festival is also seen as marking new beginnings, stronger family ties, new friendships and moving towards greater peace and harmony.
In Malaysia, everyone is included in the festivities as those celebrating Deepavali with invite friends to visit their homes. What follows is a very Malaysian pastime: the sharing of food and traditional sweets.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Malaysia during Deepavali and be invited to someone’s home, don’t decline the invitation. This will be a wonderful opportunity to be a part of someone’s family celebrations for a day and enjoy some traditional and homemade Indian food.