Karambir (standing, right) with his family members.
MIRI: The Indians are celebrating Deepavali or ‘Festival of Light’ today in the true spirit of ‘Diwali’, which symbolises good conquering evil.
Although not declared a public holiday, it does not dampen the festive mood which they share with other communities.
Preparations are made well in advance and done with a great deal of enthusiasm by all.
Miri Indians Association president Karambir Singh said just like all Malaysians, the Indians here would start preparing about a month ahead by spring cleaning and decorating their homes.
“Many traditional Indian dishes are prepared. Indian sweets like ‘ladoo and ‘barfi’ are customary for this happy occasion. On the day itself, prayers are held at temples followed by open houses or gatherings to receive friends and well-wishers,” he said yesterday.
Karambir said another common feature during Diwali would be the ‘rangoli’, a decorative design which had evolved over the centuries.
It originated from two words: ‘rang’ means ‘colours’ and ‘holi’ which means ‘celebration’.
He said every year, he would encourage his daughters and their friends to create a ‘rangoli’ to encourage them to learn and appreciate their own culture and tradition.
“The original form of ‘rangoli’ was done for scientific reasons to ensure a calming effect on visitors, putting them at ease, making them feel comfortable and happy,” said Karambir, who is also a councillor with Miri City Council.
On his wishes for this year’s Diwali, Karambir said: “In keeping with the spirit of Diwali, which is conquest of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, I wish all Malaysians would carry on with their good deeds and acquire knowledge to enhance a peaceful and understanding society filled with a bright future.”
He also hoped that the government would consider declaring Deepavali a public holiday in Sarawak to enable the local Indians to celebrate the occasion on the same day as their counterparts in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.
“It’s fortunate that this year Diwali falls on a weekend. This allows some of us in Sarawak to celebrate with family and friends on the actual day,” he said.
Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that still lists Deepavali as a working day.