Hinduism is the religion of a majority of the Indians. About 10% of the Malaysian population originated from Southern India. Likewise the majority of them are Hindus. On 2nd November this year they will celebrate Deepavali, the festival of lights. This is a Malaysian national public holiday.
Deepavali, similar to the Chinese new year, does not take place on the same date each year on the Gregorian calendar. It occurs always between October and November. The festivities go for about 6 days.
There is the eve, where last minute shopping ist done.
Deepavali is Sanskrit for rows of lights which are placed the next day on their window sills, indoors and outside the houses while kolams are drawn with rice and coloured powder on the ground or at the threshold of their houses. The temples are spruced up too.
The lights showed Rama and Sita their way home through the jungle after their 14 years of exile and Rama’s defeat of the demon King Ravana: the victory of good over evil or light over darkness. The doors and windows of their cleaned and lighted houses are opened so that Lakshmi, the goddess of happiness and good fortune can find her way in as she roams the earth on this day.
Another legend relates that Krishna put an end to Narakasura, a demon who terrorised the earth and had captured 16 000 princesses. Krishna naturally freed these prisoners.
There is a ritual oil bath before sun rises on the second day to rid themselves of their sins and past impurities.
The men and women don new clothes for the festivities:
Special prayers ceremonies are held at the home altar and in the temples.
Festive traditional sweets like ladu, and savouries like vada and murukku are served.
Children are given purple or yellow packets with money. (The Chinese packets are red). Open house is practiced in Malaysia to share the happiness among the family, relatives and the non-Hindu friends.
On the 5th day, siblings give each other presents as symbols of their love for each other.
Therefore Nenek offers in November a Deepavali Menu:
9th Offer in the Year of the Snake
Where: Oerlikon, 5 minutes’ walk from Oerlikon Railway Station
Starter – cabbage cream soup
Salad – mixed masala vegetables
Main course: achari lamb
Tea or Coffee
CHF 100 per person (incl. 1/2 bottle of wine)
go to make-your-reservation