Malaysia is a cultural melting point; a culmination of different traditions, races and people making it a destination unlike any other. Because of this great and thriving diversity, Malaysia has many festivals that you can be a part of.
Deepavali is one of the many festivals celebrated in Malaysia by the Hindu devotees. Deepavali is a celebration of the victories of deities over evil and darkness. The victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka is celebrated on the first day of this festival. It was on the second day of Deepavali that the Goddess Lakshmi appeared from the Ocean of Milk bearing good news. The third day of Deepavali is the celebration of Vishnu’s defeat against the daemon king Bali. The festival concludes with Hindu devotees commemorating the God of Death Yama’s feasting with this sister Yamii
Things to See during Deepavali in Malaysia
During the month of Deepavali, the shopping malls in and around the city will be decorated with many lanterns designed from paper. You can also find intricate designs on the floor known as kolam. These are fascinating designs made from colored rice. Making one of these takes a lot of time and effort as well as skill and if you are ever given the chance of taking part in the process of making one, you should not pass up the opportunity. This is the time of the year where you will see many traditional Hindu dances and performances at shopping malls around Malaysia being performed to celebrate the festival.
In Malaysia, you will see most of the Indian houses lighted up with small clay lamps as Deepavali is the festival of lights. These clay lamps that are lighted up are to signify the triumph of the good over the evil and darkness and all the lights will be kept on throughout the night and is definitely a beautiful sight to see. The best place to be in during the Deepavali festivals is in Little India. There are two Little India districts in the heart of the city and these are the best places to fully experience the unique festival. The streets of Little India will be bustling with activity as many people make their way to shop for new saris, spices, bangles and anything to make the festival a merrier one.
Things to Do during Deepavali in Malaysia
During the Deepavali season don’t miss out on the opportunity to go shopping in the streets of Little India. Shopping during this period of time will surely allow you to bag many good bargains on Indian products and food. On the first day of the festival, devotees rise early and have a ritual oil bath to cleanse their beings. Temples will definitely be very crowded during this time but it definitely is a great way to be a part of this festival. Enter the temples and you can make your own offerings. Malaysia has many major temples like the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur and the Sri Kandaswamy Kovil in Brickfields will have some interesting activities if you are a culture enthusiast. Visiting the Hindu temples will definitely give you a better insight and understanding of the festival as well as the culture and beliefs of the Hindu devotees here in Malaysia.
Like all other festivals in Malaysia, food is a very important element of the festive season. That is why; this is the best time to taste the best of Indian cuisine and many traditional Indian delights that are made especially for this festival. Join in the festivities and light up paper lanterns. Watch them glow in the dark and enjoy the festivities with the locals.
Traveling during Deepavali
Traveling in and around the country will definitely be harder as the locals will be on holiday and many will be traveling home bound to be with their loved ones. After all, Deepavali is a festival where family reunions are a must; just like any other Malaysian festival. If you are in Malaysia to be a part of this festival, the best time to come would be in early November, 2013. The public transport systems will be very crowded as the schools are off and the trains in and around the city will be crowded with last minute shoppers and travelers. Renting a car is definitely a good idea if you choose to get around in the Kuala Lumpur city centre as the traffic during this period of time is lighter.
Where to Stay in Malaysia during Deepavali
There are many places to stay and as all the activities and highlights of the festival are in the heart of the city, you should pick a hotel that puts you strategically in the middle of the city centre. You can also spend Deepavali on a Malaysian island. Penang would be a good choice as this is the island rich in culture, heritage and the best place to try out the best of local cuisine. There are many hotels on the island that will be just right for you. Deepavali in Melaka would also be a good holiday to work with during this festive season. Stay closer to the Jonker Street district or the A’Famosa resort where exciting parades and activities are happening here.