Diwali Celebrations in MalaysiaIn Malaysia, Diwali is known as Hari Diwali and is declared as a federal public holiday across Malaysia with the exception of the region of Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan. Deepavali or Diwali, is a festival celebrated by all Hindus to commemorate Lord Rama and his wife, Sita’s return to Ayodhya after his fourteen year exile. It was a moonless night when they first returned hence his people lit their houses with little lamps (diyas) so that Lord Rama and Sita could find their way.
For some Hindus, Deepavali is also celebrated in honour of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The lighting of these diyas illuminate the path of goddess Lakshmi to find her way to their houses. Thus, this festival is also known as the Festival of Lights. This signifies the victory of good over evil.
On the morning of Deepavali, the Hindus get up before sunrise for a ritual of oil bath known as ganga-snana to signify the cleansing of ones sins of the past. After that, prayers are conducted on the family altar and some also visit temples for special ceremonies and worship. The day is celebrated over festive fireworks, traditional Indian dishes and sweets like jalebi, ladoo, vadai, ommapadi and the popular murukku.
In Malaysia, Indians invite friends of different races and religions for an open house. This promotes stronger ties among Malaysians and enhances unity in this multi-ethnic country. On this occasion, children receive purple or sometimes yellow packets containing money as presents.
Diwali Celebrations in SingaporeDiwali celebration holds a significant place in the calendar of festivals of Singapore. The festival of lights, Diwali is popularly known as Deepavali in Singapore. This may be because of the fact that most of the Indian population come from Tamil Nadu and are Tamil-speaking. ‘Deepam’ and ‘voli’ are Tamil words. ‘Deepam’ means ‘lamp’ and ‘voli’ means ‘light’. The celebration process of the festival is similar to that of Southern India. The importance of this festival is such that most of the offices, commercial institutions and organizations remain closed on this day. Diwali festival is a gazetted public holiday.
It is typically marked by a display of lights in the Little India district, where the Indian community are mainly located. Other activities such as Diwali bazaars, exhibitions, parades and concerts are organised in Little India.