“Deeparaya” in Malaysia

Today, Deepavali is celebrated universally by Hindus and is observed as a public holiday in Malaysia. Diwali, known as Deepavali in Malaysia, is also commonly known as the Festival of Lights. The celebration of Deepavali marks the triumph of good over evil, the victory of light over dark. It is celebrated here in Malaysia by the Hindu community – mainly consisting those of Indian ethnic origin.

This year, as Deepavali falls on 1 November, Malaysians jointly celebrate the double festivals of Hari Raya and Deepavali, which is coined as Deeparaya.The double festival mood is reflected in the brightly decorated streets, homes, hotels, government and commercial buildings. Some of them blended Malay and Indian cultures in the decorations to have a cross-cultural effect for the double celebration.

The popular Ketupat lightings along the road(picture taken in the car in front of traffic light, I like the smile!)/Hari Raya decoration

For days before, there are a lot of people ferrying from the city to the country by any available transport. Cities like Kuala Lumpur get relatively quiet during this double festive season of Deeparaya. Thus, driving around the city is enjoyable as the traffic is very smooth.

The shopping centres were less crowded as compared to the weekends. I came across a Thai fair called Mini Siam. The stalls sold a wide variety of Thai foods and produce such as woven baskets, shoes, clothing, accessories, Thai food items including pickles, Thai sauce and curry pastes, and so on. Certainly I didn’t buy anything as the price was much higher than in Thailand.

There were also some festive activities held in conjunction with the festive season in the shopping centre which included Indian dance performance, free Henna tattoo and playing of traditional Malay leisure games.

Some of the stalls at the Thai Fair

Malaysia is a multi-racial country with many different ethnic groups and religions. We have been living in harmony because of mutual respect and tolerance for each other, the beliefs, culture, tradition and all those little things that made us different. Since a kid, we have always been taught and reminded to respect each other’s sensitivities and celebrate each other’s culture.

I have always been fascinated with different cultures and traditions that I learned and experienced in my life –Thai, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Western and others.
Today, I am living and working in a beautiful neighbouring country -Thailand. I learn a lot about the history, the language, the people, the tradition and the culture of the country.

In fact wherever we are, we are part of the multi-racial global village. Therefore, we must learn to accept each other as they are, recognise and accept the existing diversity and realise that our diversity does not divide us.

Let us celebrate diversity in all its splendour and colour!

Deeparaya decoration-traditional Malay and Indian house/A girl with Henna tattoo, an old Indian traditional body art which uses natural dyes and herbs to create a red-brown stain on the skin on the skin. Initially I thought it was chocolate!

Indian dance performance in the shopping centre

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