Deepavali, a Unique Festival of Light

By: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali

Deepavali, or the Festival of Lights, is celebrated on the 14th day of the Tamil month of Aipasi, falling between October and November.

The celebration of Deepavali holds profound meaning with the presence of illuminated oil lamps, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.

The ritual of lighting lamps is inspired by the legend of the cruel King Narakasura, defeated and slain by Lord Krishna.

The lit lamps in homes serve not only as symbols of victory but also illuminate the joy of the Deepavali celebration.

Traditionally, Deepavali commences as early as 3 a.m., when Hindu devotees rise before sunrise to install lamps around their homes, signifying victory over goodness.

Additionally, several fascinating aspects of this Festival of Lights include:

Oil Bath

The oil bath is performed to purify the body and uplift the spirit, seen as a symbolic act of self-purification. Sesame oil is applied to the heads of each family member, symbolizing purity akin to bathing in the holy Ganges River.

After the oil bath, new clothes and jewelry are adorned on Deepavali morning to eliminate negativity and evil within oneself. This tradition marks the beginning of the celebration day with purity and cleanliness.

Following this, family members exchange greetings, seeking forgiveness from parents and each other.


Decorating homes with ‘kolam,’ floor designs made from coloured rice before sunrise, is a must. Usually created in front of the house’s entrance, it symbolizes blessings for the household’s well-being.

The skill of making kolam is often passed down through generations, showcasing motifs inspired by nature.

Kolam holds symbolic significance, as Deepavali is celebrated not only by Hindu devotees but also by creatures like insects that consider it a source of food.


Laddu, Palgova, Jelebi, and Soan Papdi Banaras are essential ‘sweets’ during Deepavali. They symbolize the identity of the Indian community and often serve as the ‘starter’ before commencing any ceremony, event, or festive day.

Believing that these sweets bring prolonged joy, positivity, and well-being, sweeter and more delicious sweets are preferred and warmly welcomed. They are also served with traditional dishes.

Laddu is the most famous sweet, now diversified in flavours such as Rava Ladu, Thirupathi Laddu, and Dates Laddu.

Not to be forgotten are other traditional treats like maruku, adivasam, and payasam. Muruku, Neiurundai, and Atherasam undoubtedly whet the appetite of guests.

An interesting fact, according to Hindu beliefs, is that these sweets cannot be consumed until they receive the Lord’s blessing. On Deepavali morning, dishes and various sweets are offered during prayers at home to seek divine approval.

After prayers, these delectable treats and special foods can be savoured.

Visiting and Receiving Visitors

Visiting the homes of close and distant relatives strengthens relationships. Some are capable of hosting open houses with delectable and traditional dishes.

The practice of giving ‘duit raya’ (money) to children is a necessity to enhance the festive atmosphere of Deepavali.

Wishing a Happy Deepavali to Hindu devotees!!!!

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