For some people, travel is about recharging their batteries and taking a break from the reality that is work, home, kids, rinse, repeat. For others, travel is all about learning: acquiring knowledge about different cultures, religions and ways of life. For those of you who fall into the latter category, celebrating Deepavali Kuala Lumpur-style should be high on your bucket list.
Deepavali, also known as Diwali in India and other nations, is an important celebration for Hindus and Sikhs around the world. The celebration’s origins have two main theories. In the first, Deepavali celebrates the Hindu deity Rama returning to the city of Ayodhya to reclaim his throne after 14 years of banishment. Stories tell that those faithful to Rama helped him find his way through the dark night by lighting clay lamps. The second theory is that Deepavali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth; these followers believe that by lighting lamps, Lakshmi will be able to easily find their homes and bless them with good fortune.
No matter the basis, it is easy to understand why this five-day celebration is also known as the Festival of Lights—not only are homes decorated with lights to honour and celebrate, but during Deepavali Kuala Lumpur comes alive with shopping centres, businesses and whole streets decorated with lights and lamps signifying the defeat of good over evil. Lights span the streets creating a beautiful glow that is enhanced by the white and red lights of the traffic.
During Deepavali you will notice colourful kolams marking entrances to houses (and shopping centres too!). These beautiful, intricate designs are usually geometric and are believed to bring prosperity to the home. Kolams generally need to be remade each day after people walk through and over them, and the wind blows the coloured rice flour away.
Deepavali is characterised by other rituals and traditions that unify families, friends and colleagues. Cleaning one’s home and cleansing one’s body are typical activities before visiting a temple to pray. If you are lucky enough to be in Kuala Lumpur during Deepavali make time to visit Sri Mahamariamman and Sri Kandaswamy temples. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, here you can see, feel and experience Deepavali alongside the devout.
As with religious celebrations the world over, Deepavali wouldn’t be the same without sharing food. Both sweet and savoury delicacies will tantalise your tastebuds. Visit Brickfields, the ‘Little India’ of Kuala Lumpur, to be tempted by spiced sweets and fried flavours.
If is Malaysia just out of reach, Temples and Markets has colourful, ethically sourced items that will give you that Deepavali Kuala Lumpur feel.
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