Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deepavali Celebration in India - 2008

A SPARKLING START: Malaysians celebrate Diwali in the city on Thursday
Lakshmi Kumaraswami TNN Chennai:

Colourful rangolis and diyas adorn the entrance of the house. Children, dressed in their best clothes, run around waving sparklers in the air. Inside, everybody is all smiles, greeting each other with a cheerful ‘Happy Diwali’. The sound of crackers, laughter and the clink of glasses fill the air. The scene resembles a typical Diwali party. But this one’s a bit different. For 90% of the guest list isn’t even Indian. In fact, they are all Malaysian. The ‘Diwali Open House’ is an event Major S Manian, president of MASI (Malaysian Association of Southern India) has been hosting at his home in Chennai since 2002. “We have all the Malaysians living in the city over for dinner. They burst crackers and have a great time,” he says as he greets guests along with wife Leela. The festival, known only as Deepavali there, is celebrated in this manner even in Malaysia. “This festival is celebrated by everyone irrespective of race or religion,” says Anuar Kasman, consulgeneral of Malaysia in Chennai. Khairuddin, education consul for the Malaysian consulate adds that the festival coincides with other important festivals of the country. “Our country is a melting pot of cultures, so when Id and Deepavali coincide, we call it Deepa Raya,” he says. So how different is it celebrating the festival in India? “Well, people burst crackers, but that’s completely banned back home,” states Kasman. Khairuddin, who has been in the country only for two weeks, adds that celebrating the festival in India is more exotic. “And wet,” he adds with a laugh, indicating the weather. Wan Naimah Wan Daud, vice consul says the festival gives them a chance to dress up. “I’d love to wear a saree, but I need someone to tie it. So I’ll stick to this for now,” she says, showing off her pink salwar kameez. Noor Arif Mohammed Noor, director of tourism in the consulate says the festival is celebrated with pomp. “But in Malaysia, Malay, Chinese and Indian festivals are celebrated this way. And that makes us truly Asia,” he finishes.
Source: The Times of India - Chennai Edition, 24th Oct 2008

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