Friday, November 5, 2010

Hindus celebrate victory of good over evil

DEEPAVALI is an auspicious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It is popularly known as the Festival of Lights, because when literally translated, the word Deepavali means ‘rows of lighted lamps.’

To the Tamilians, the festival is a celebration of good over evil and light over darkness. It commemorates the day Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.To the Jain community, Deepavali is celebrated as a New Year’s Day. Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained Nirvana on Deepavali day.For the Gujaratis, Deepavali is a five-day celebration starting with Dhanteras — a day for the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. And for the Sikhs, Deepavali is celebrated to mark the return of the sixth Guru to Amritsar in 1620 who was imprisoned by Emperor Jahangir.This Deepavali, StarMetro interviews four friends of different Indian descent on what Deepavali means to them. These are their stories.Making memoriesFor Bavani Kathirailu, 21, Deepavali celebration this year is extra special. Not just for her, but her family as well. The psychology student recently won the Miss Malaysia Indian Global 2010 pageant — so in other words it is a double celebration for her.As a Tamil Hindu, Bavani will have a lot to do on Deepavali day. “We will get up at 6am and have our oil baths with gingelly oil, after that we will head to the temple for prayers,’’ she said.In the afternoon, friends and relatives will visit her home in Brickfields, which will be sparkling clean and decorated with a kolam at the entrance with lots of fresh flowers displayed in vases and jars.There is a family tradition that the female members of the Kathirailu family have been practising every Deepavali, and it is something that they look forward to each year.While cakes and Indian cookies like muruku, adirasam, mysore pak and payasam are synonymous with the Festival of Lights, Bavani and her sisters will make one western dessert each year.

“It is different every year and we will pick a dessert that we would like to make and we’ll try out the recipes a few weeks earlier to see how it turns out,’’ she said.Bavani said this year she was making Chocolate Brownie with Strawberry Cheese. Her sister Arthi-valli, 31, will be making passion fruit pudding while her other sister Kokilam, 26 will be making a fruitcake.“To me Deepavali is about the family coming together and doing things together. All traditions and customs aside, it is the fellowship that we look forward to each year,’’ she said. “It’s what makes the festival memorable.’’. 

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