Joyful Deepavali celebrations nationwide

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12: The celebration of Deepavali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is joyously observed across the country today, with Hindu devotees taking advantage of the good weather in the morning to perform religious ceremonies at temples in their respective areas.

Dressed in vibrant clothing, people are enjoying this festive day by spending time with family, cooking delightful meals, visiting relatives and friends, and importantly, hosting open houses.

In KUALA LUMPUR, a private sector employee, S. Dharviin, 33, who works in Kedah, described this year’s celebration as meaningful. He was able to return to his hometown in Batu Caves earlier and enjoyed the added benefits of toll-free travel and freedom from COVID-19 restrictions.

“The last time I had the opportunity to experience the ‘balik kampung’ atmosphere like this was before I started working in Kedah about eight years ago. The dishes that my family and I prepared this year were also very special, including banana leaf rice, idli and murukku,” he told Bernama at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple, Batu Caves here.

Chifuyu Sugimoto, a 31-year-old Japanese citizen, is excited about celebrating Deepavali after being fascinated by an article in a travel magazine about the colours of Malaysian festivities.

In PENANG, the Muniswarar Temple in Jalan Baru and the Arulmigu Karumariamman Temple in Seberang Jaya were among the focal points for Hindu devotees from 7 am to carry out religious ceremonies.

Private sector worker K. Devan, 37, said he was initially worried about the weather but felt relieved to find good weather this morning.

In PAHANG, Hindu followers began visiting the Sri Mariamman Temple on Jalan Seri Kemunting, Kuantan, early in the morning, dressed in colourful attire in conjunction with the celebration.

In Alor Setar, KEDAH, a visitor to the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam Temple, S. Darshini, 34, said her family did not return to their hometown in Teluk Intan, Perak this year because her grandmother wanted to experience celebrating the festival in the city.

As early as 7 am, the entire family had arrived at the temple for prayers, and preparations for the celebration had been made over a week in advance, with homemade kuih and kolum decorations to reduce expenses.

Meanwhile, for R. Ravindran, 26, from Alor Janggus, this year’s celebration was special as this was his first time celebrating as a husband after marrying his wife N. Nandhini, 24, in September.

In JOHOR, Hindu devotees around Johor Bahru began visiting the Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam Temple on Jalan Ungku Puan, also known as Little India Johor Bahru, from 7.30 am for religious ceremonies, where the public also received laddu when visiting the 110-year-old temple.

In MELAKA, S. Ravisantharan, 56, said he and his family woke up at 4 am to perform an oil bath custom before sunrise at home. They then continued their religious ritual at the Sri Sunthara Moorthy Vinayagar Temple in Batu Berendam, dressed in white to symbolise purity.

In Seremban, NEGERI SEMBILAN, Sri Bala Thandayuthapani Temple president Captain (Rtd) VR. Parameswaran anticipated that around 6,000 Hindu devotees would visit. The temple offered two sessions, from 7 am to 12 pm and 7 pm to 9.30 pm.

In PERLIS, M. Ashok Kumar, 22, the Arulmigu Arumugaswamy Dhevasthanam Temple treasurer, hoped that this year’s Deepavali celebration would strengthen unity among the communities through visiting activities and also invited elderly home residents to join in religious ceremonies for a more festive atmosphere.

In TERENGGANU, while the Deepavali celebrations may not be as elaborate as in the West Coast states, the local Indians still observe it with gratitude and devotion.

Special Officer (Non-Islamic Affairs) to the Terengganu Menteri Besar Dr. Balachandran Gopal Krishnan said he and his wife, Senbagavalli Kalimuthu, along with their three children, woke up at 6 am for a sesame oil bath. After that, they went to Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple on Jalan Cherong Lanjut, Kuala Terengganu, for prayers and other religious rituals.

“Besides tosei and muruku, we also enjoy nasi minyak as our main dish during Deepavali. This is because we have embraced the culture and cuisine of the Malay community here,” he said, adding that the Indian population in Terengganu accounts for less than one per cent of the state’s 1.3 million residents.

In PERAK, not only have 10,000 Hindu devotees gathered since 7 am at the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh, but the celebration has also drawn the attention of foreign tourists and members of different communities, offering them a chance to immerse themselves in the festive spirit of Deepavali.

In SELANGOR, state Human Resources and Poverty Eradication Committee chairman V. Papparaidu hosted an open house at the State Government Exco Housing Complex in Shah Alam, with Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari and other Exco members also present.

In KELANTAN, despite being a minority, the Indian community keeps the festive spirit alive. Kelantan MIC Women’s chief S. Nilai Valagi, 63, has prepared muruku and new clothes a month in advance. Other dishes, including chicken curry, lamb curry, putu mayam, and tosei, were made yesterday.

She said 25 of her family members gathered at her mother’s house in Lundang, Kota Bharu this year.

In SARAWAK, although the Indian population is around 7,000, the people still celebrate Deepavali and maintain a strong sense of unity. Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg attended an open house organised by lawyer Shankar Ram at King’s Curry, Jalan Rumbai in Kuching.

In SABAH, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, joined by over 5,000 individuals, enlivened the 2023 Deepavali Celebration at the Sabah International Convention Centre in Kota Kinabalu.

The event, jointly organised by the Sabah Government and the Sabah Indian Chamber of Commerce, featured various traditional Indian dishes such as toseimuruku, and curry, as well as traditional Sabah dishes like kelupis.

Hajiji extended his Deepavali greetings to those celebrating and hoped that the festivities, celebrated by the diverse communities in the state, would strengthen unity among the people of Sabah.