The celebration of Deepavali is one every Malaysian joyfully partakes in every year.
However, some Malaysians who do not commemorate the holiday directly may not completely understand the differences between this common conundrum: Is it Deepavali or Diwali?
So the question thereby remains, is there a difference between both of these greetings? Do they connote the same wish of goodwill? Here’s the truth!
In Sanskrit, the word Deepavali is derived from two separate words; dipa, which means light or lamp, and avali, which means series or in a row. Together, it means a series of lights, thereby connoting the holiday to being referred to as the Festival of Lights.
Furthermore, Diwali comes from the word Deepavali, concluding that both words are a celebration of the same festival.
Nevertheless, the meaning behind the celebration starts to differ based on which region of India observes the festivities, according to an article by The Times of India.
Deepavali takes place over a 4 day celebration
According to South Indians, Deepavali is largely associated with Lord Krishna, the Hindu God of Protection. The first day of Deepavali is done to commemorate the mark of triumph of Lord Krishna in defeating the demon Naraka, who had oppressed his people due to his own selfishness.
With Naraka’s ruling being perceived as the dark days, Lord Krishna’s victory marked a pathway to goodness and light. Therefore, oil lamps are lit on Deepavali to remember the darkness can only be removed with light.
Diwali lasts for 5 days
On the other hand, North Indians link Diwali to the Indian God, Lord Ram. Deprived of his rights and banished to the forest for 14 years, the bold story of this avatar was seen through his defeating of a dark demigod king named Ravana.
After that point, Lord Rama returned with his wife and brother to claim his rightful throne. This triumphant return was said to be celebrated with firecrackers and oil lamps to bring light to homes. Now, it has become part of the Diwali tradition and culture.
Aside from that, Deepavali takes place over a four day celebration, while Diwali lasts for five days, with the latter beginning one day before the former.
In concluding what the differences are between Deepavali and Diwali, they are not stark nor vastly differentiating. However, it does connote a contrasting meaning for different Malaysian-Indians depending on their respective cultures.
Ultimately, the festivities are a celebration of light over darkness and choosing to see positivity and goodness over anything else.
As Malaysians, this celebration is another one in the books that represents our country’s diverse culture and background.