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“Its meaning is beautiful” – 11 M’sian Indians Share Why Deepavali is Such a Meaningful Celebration

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Source: Pexels | Yan Krukau & Herald Malaysia

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For non-Hindus in Malaysia, Deepavali is merely another time for us to stuff our faces with delicious food and visit our friends who honour the festival alongside their families.

But what does the celebration of this sacred festival mean to those who look forward to this time of cheer every year?

We recently spoke to some Malaysians who celebrate Deepavali and got their take on what this holiday means to them.

(Note: Names of these Malaysians have been changed for privacy purposes).

Scene Photo Indian Woman Kneeling By Candles Celebrating Diwali

Image for illustration purposes only.

 

1. “Work takes up all of my time, so this period is so special to me”

“I work in corporate financing so if I’m being completely transparent, I have no time for myself let alone my family and those closest to me. Work takes up all of my time, so this period is so special to me.

“So when there’s any cultural celebration, I really look forward to it, not just Deepavali, but Thaipusam, Pongal, and even Holi is something I hold very dear to me, also.”

– Dharman, 30 years old.

 

2. “Culturally, it is different here, and nothing beats Deepavali celebrations at home!”

“Moving to London about two years ago was a bit challenging for me because I didn’t have my family beside me. Culturally, it is different here, and nothing beats Deepavali celebrations at home!

“Right now, the best I get is being able to FaceTime my family and talk to them about it over the phone. It’s not the most ideal thing, but I find myself getting in the festive mood now that I’m far away from them. I have a much deeper appreciation for the holiday than I’ve ever had.”

– Kirtana, 28 years old.

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3. “I know I sound shallow, but I like what I like so that’s what I turn up for, lol”

“Okay I’ll relent, I’m not a spiritual person by any stretch of the imagination. The last I’ve been to temple was years ago, and quite honestly, I don’t have plans on making a return any time soon.”

“But there’s no beating the food, cause we don’t get to eat some of these things all year ’round. I have a big sweet tooth, so coconut candy and jalebi is a big must in my household. I know I sound shallow, but I like what I like, so that’s what I turn up for, lol.”

– Jeevan, 26 years old.

 

4. My responsibility now is to carry that on with my nephews and nieces, teach them why being proud of our culture is so important”

“I think Deepavali bears a similarity with Christmas and Chinese New Year in a sense, that culturally, a lot of people in Malaysia will celebrate it because the masses love to be included. I’m all for that, don’t get it twisted! But as a Hindu, the religious aspects of it is why I love this holiday so much“.

“When I was a kid, I have a distinct memory of my late grandmother telling me the story of Deepavali, and it meant a lot to me. Its meaning is beautiful.”

“My responsibility now is to carry that on with my nephews and nieces, teach them why being proud of our culture is so important, and why this should mean the world to them. There’s like, a spiritual lightness that comes with celebrating Deepavali.”

– Thira, 30 years old.

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Image for illustration purposes only.

 

5. “It’s the one day where everyone puts away any other matter to come together and enjoy the company of each other”

“Deepavali has always been a big part of my life because of how important it is to my father.”

“My father and I would go get the banana and mango leaves to hang on the house entrance, with me holding the chair for support while he does the hanging. The morning of Deepavali, I’m woken up by my father to oil my hair.”

“And, without fail, every Deepavali morning, we eat as a family. It’s the one day where everyone puts away any other matter to come together and enjoy the company of each other. When you grow up, life gets in the way and having Deepavali is almost like a chance to pause your life a bit to enjoy the comforts of family time and celebrating one another.”

– Jeena, 23 years old.

 

6. “Malaysia’s Deepavali is different from the rest of the world”

“It’s so corny to say I get ‘The best of both worlds’, but the fact of the matter is that I really do! As a Chindian, I get to experience both sides of the coin, sometimes simultaneously haha. Deepavali isn’t traditional in my house, since it’s only for my dad’s side of the family, but it’s thrilling to see how my family always welcomes my mum’s culture into the fold every time.

Only in my household will we be having mutton curry and pau on the same table. Malaysia’s Deepavali is different from the rest of the world, and makes our celebration so much better than what other countries will ever know.”

– Brandon, 29 years old.

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Image for illustration purposes only.

 

7. “My family time looks different than the rest, but it is still just as important to me”

“I haven’t spoken to my family in 6 years or so after coming out as a queer man, but since I live overseas, it isn’t entirely a problem for me, I guess.”

“Year after year, without fail, my friends here would organise a big Diwali do for me. I don’t even plan anything, and they are not Indian by race, but they take the time and go way beyond the extra mile just to make sure I do not miss out on this yearly celebration.”

“My family time looks different than the rest, but it is still just as important to me.”

– Jay, 32 years old.

 

8. “Everything is for my children; they’re the beginning and end of it for me”

“I never really had appreciation for Deepavali when I was younger, simply because my mom, sister and dad did everything necessary for the celebration. I just… attended it.”

“But now that I’m a father, I finally understand why my parents went through all that effort to make sure that Deepavali was a big thing. It was for me, it was for me to get in the festive spirit and break into its crucial importance. Now, it’s my turn to do that. Everything is for my children; they’re the beginning and the end of it for me. So I want them, when they’re older, to remember that papa cherished this special time every year, and that they’ll want to continue it with their families one day.”

– Vikky, 47 years old.

Diwali Celebrations

Image for illustration purposes only.

 

9. “I would say Deepavali is in fact a day for family and friends to gather and reminisce on their journey together”

“Deepavali for me is a day where the family tree reconnects at each other’s house. It is also a day where we remember our roots during our morning prayers, reminding ourselves of who we are as a culture that is filled with rich elements that many aren’t aware about.

“In a religious aspect, one can say it is a day of Holy Lights. Culturally, I would say Deepavali is in fact a day for family and friends to gather and reminisce on their journey together.”

– Arvin, 25 years old.

 

10. “The only thing that could go wrong on Deepavali is if the mutton varuval wasn’t cooked long enough”

“Being a foodie, the first thing to come to mind when Deepavali nears is the food, specifically the Deepavali breakfast. There’ll be idly, tosai, idiyappam, chicken curry, mutton varuval, and a variety of vadais and muruku.”

“That’s pretty much what Deepavali is to me. The only thing that could go wrong on Deepavali is if the mutton varuval wasn’t cooked long enough.”

– Carrie, 23 years old.

 

11. “It’s a unifying celebration in every way possible”

“I’m lucky enough to have close friends who have very much been incorporated into my family life. I’ve known them since forever, and so has my family. So every Deepavali, no matter where each person is from and what religion they are, we always celebrate it together as a family.

“It’s a unifying celebration in every way possible, especially for my household. A lot of people consider religious holidays a ‘family affair’, but for me, it really is.”

– Darshini, 22 years old.

Pexels Yan Krukau 8819845

Image for illustration purposes only.

To all Malaysians celebrating, have a blessed Deepavali ahead!

 

Also read: “Bringing in Prosperity” – Here’s The True Significance of Making Kolum During Deepavali

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Source: Freepik
Source: Vascom
Source: Newsweek

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