Known as the "Festival of Lights", Deepavali is celebrated in order to usher in the Hindu New Year and is one of the most vibrant cultural festivals Kuala Lumpur has. While celebrations last for five days, the specific dates of the Deepavali Festival in Malaysia and in other parts of the world vary since it is decided according to the lunar calendar.
Light defeats darkness
The main emphasis of the festival commemorates good overcoming evil which is symbolically seen as light triumphing over darkness. This symbolism is highlighted in the lighting of oil lamps which is done in Hindu temples and homes. During this time prayers are offered to such Hindu Gods as Lord Ganesha who is known as the "Remover of Obstacles" and Lakshmi who is believed to be the Goddess of light, wisdom and prosperity.
Since Deepavali marks the start of a new year, people engage in such activities as cleaning out their houses in preparation for a new "beginning". Other traditions include the exchanging of gifts and the use of multi coloured rice to form elaborate patterns that are used to decorate floors and walls. Those wanting to witness such traditions in Kuala Lumpur can head to the parts of the city such as Lebuh Ampang and Jalan Masjid India, which form what is known as "Little India".
Nothing beats friendship
The festival period is also noted for the various foods and treats that are made and shared with friends and family. "Puris" (deep fried savoury item) and a rice dish known as "biryani" are popular foods served during this time as well as sweets such as "laddoo", "coconut barfi" and " gulab jamun".