The word "Deepavali" derives from the combination of the words ‘Dipa’ and ‘Gavali’, the former meaning ‘light’ and the latter meaning ‘a row’.
Deepavali (Diwali) is celebrated universally by Hindus and is observed as a public holiday in Malaysia. This festival falls between the month of October and November, the fourteenth day of the Tamil month of Aipasi. It is also known to many as the Festival of Lights.
The word "Deepavali" derives from the combination of the words ‘Dipa’ and ‘Gavali’, the former meaning ‘light’ and the latter meaning ‘a row’. Thus symbolising the rows of lights that can be seen at the houses of Hindu celebrants. As light dispels darkness, this festival symbolises the victory of good over evil.
At the dawn of Deepavali, Hindus perform the ritual oil bath which signifies a cleansing of the body and soul. Following this symbolic rite in purification which marks a new beginning, devotees visit the temple where shrines of Hindu deities are encircled with flower garlands.
The entrances of Hindu homes are decorated with the ‘kolam’, an intricate floral design on the ground which signifies religious believes. This religious connotation, revolves around the Goddess of Wealth, the deity Lakshimi. Many believe that the Goddess Lakshimi would only enter a home with a ‘kolam’ at the entrance.
Reproduced with permission from:
Glimpses of Malaysia Series, GeoVision Productions (1993- 2003)