Deepavali or also known as ‘Diwali’ is the "festival of lights" celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains all over the world. This five-day celebration comes to a climax with the Annakut celebration on the Hindu New Year Day.
In Malaysia, Deepavali is one of the many biggest celebrations celebrated by the Hindu community. As the name implies, the festival of lights celebrates the triumph of good over evil where light took over darkness.
One of the most popular legends told by most Hindus as a reason to celebrate this festival would be the story of Lord Rama and his wife Sita.
In the 15th century BC, it is said that they had returned to their kingdom (Ayodhya) in Northern India after 14 years of exile and after the defeat of Ravanna, the demon King. To celebrate their return, villagers lit oil lamps that illuminated the path in darkness.
For some others, the festival of lights is associated with the birth of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On a more spiritual level, Deepavali is said to promote a deeper realisation of one’s inner light, and thus an increased awareness of joy and peace.
Traditionally, the celebration of Deepavali happens on the third day of the festival, which usually falls in between the middle of October and the middle of November. The day of the festival is decided according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This year, Deepavali falls on Sunday, 27th of October.
During this day, it is a tradition to give food and goods to help those in need, as well as sharing of sweets and gifts among families and friends. During Deepavali, Indian sweets with a variety of colours and flavours are served. In addition to that, various rich savoury dishes are also served and eaten.
In Malaysia and Singapore, a must-have snack during Deepavali would be murukku. Murukku is a savoury, crunchy snack originating from India. It is made from rice flour and urad dal flour along with spices which makes it savoury. Families will mostly prepare food at home for guests while they exchange gifts and watch fireworks.
Deepavali is usually celebrated with large firework displays as a remembrance of the day Rama returned, during which locals set off their own version of fireworks. The day is also marked by lighting traditional earthen diyas (candles) and decorations of colourful rangoli artworks at home. These artworks are patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder.
Traditionally, homes are cleaned in time for the festival and new clothes are to be worn. Meanwhile, prayers and ceremonies are usually held in the Hindu temples. These prayers, also known as puja or aarthi, are offered to thank god and make wishes for continued blessings in the years ahead.
Goddess Lakshmi, who is worshipped as the goddess of wealth and prosperity is believed to visit her devotees and bestow gifts and blessings upon each of them. It is stated that she loves going to houses that are well-cleaned and are beautifully decorated. This is why devotees typically clean their houses several days in advance for Deepavali and prepare colourful rangolis.
In Malaysia and Singapore, traditional outfits are worn during Deepavali. Some examples of traditional apparel worn are saris, punjabi suits, and colourful bangles.
In Malaysia, these clothing can be easily found at Little India in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang. Other shops and booths in malls would also be selling these outfits. Colourful and bright outfits are expected to be worn on this day as a symbol of celebration of the win against evil.
On a side note, it is not encouraged to wear black or white during this day as these colours are associated with funerals in the Hindu culture. Thus, these colours are believed to be not auspicious for the festival. In general, the festival of light is all about brightness and colours.
Hence, flowers are great for gifts during Deepavali. If you are considering bring home some flowers for Deepavali or sending them as gifts, here’s some bouquets you can look out for!
Coming in as the 5th most popular flower in the world, Gerbera daisies are flowers with large flowering heads that closely resembles sunflowers. However, they come in a variety of bright colours. Some gorgeous colours these flowers are able to bloom in are bright pink, snow white, sunny yellow, and even ruby red.
Initially discovered during the 1884s, these flowers are now enhanced in quality and colour variations particularly after breeding programs were held in England 1890. Their flower sizes range from 2 inches to 5 inches across.
Gerbera daisies are a favourite choice of gift for multitude occasions from birthdays, well wishes, congratulations, gratitude, and many more. The flowers are said to symbolise beauty, purity, and innocence. In addition, the daisies also carry the meaning of cheerfulness attributed by their bright variety of colours. Different colours of the flowers also convey different deep and meaningful messages. Here’s a brief overview of the meaning of colours for different occasions.
Red Gerbera represents passion or deeply in love. Given to someone, these flowers can convey the meaning of being immensely in love with the person.
Orange flowers represents sunshine of life. Moreover, they are a colour that represents enthusiasm, energy, and warmth. Orange daisies are great as a gift if you are looking to lift someone’s mood.
Yellow means cheerfulness and happiness. They are perfect as a gift for friendship and to wish joy to the receiver.
White blooms symbolises purity, innocence, and spirituality. Often, they are used for wedding bouquets or for baptism.
Pink blooms can convey different meanings depending on the shade of the colour. For instance, lighter pink displays gentleness and sympathy. Meanwhile, darker shades of pink are often used as a symbol of gratitude. They can also be a symbol of adoration and admiration towards a person.
Purple Gerbera depicts elegance, pride, and feminine beauty.
Generally, Gerbera daisies are great in Deepavali gift bouquets as its bright colours represents sunshine. The vibrant flowers represents gratitude and happiness for the life that has been given. In other words, they symbolise the light that shines through a house and is expected to give joy and happiness. No matter what age and gender the receiver is, the flowers are believed to bring positive and good energy. Here are some bouquets selections that might just be perfect for the occasion!
Carnations sometimes referred to as the flower of the gods carries various meanings from fascination, distinction, to love. In particular, these flowers are actually a popular symbolisation of a mother’s love, making them a great Mother’s Day gift.
In Deepavali, these flowers are famous for its bright colours that resemble the bright colours of fireworks. Carnations comes in a wide array of colours such as white, light red, dark red, pink, purple, and yellow. These are what makes them distinct as they stand out in a bouquet. Every colour of the flowers conveys their very own meaning.
For instance, white carnations are a symbol of mother’s love, purity, and luck. Meanwhile, red carnations symbolise admiration, love, and affection. Red carnations distinguishes themselves from pink carnations as pink is used to convey feelings of gratitude, feminine, love, and romance.
Although these flowers are great for Deepavali, it is best to take note that the yellow carnations are often used to symbolise rejections and disappointments. If you are worried that you might choose a wrong bouquet, take a look at Phoebe bouquet.
This bouquet incorporates pink carnation and cherry pink carnations that are great to convey love or a simple gratitude. Other than that, the bouquet also has a mix of orchids which is great for the festive season.
Orchids symbolise beauty, love, strength and virility. Most times, they are used in garlands, balcony or stair railing decorations, filling the home with invigorating beauty and elegance.
Orchids are also known for their amazing scents. They are famously used in perfumes and aromatherapy. There are over 20,000 types of orchids in the world with the Moth orchid being the most famous. Apart from its exotic looks, orchids comes in different colours with their own unique meaning.
As with many other flowers, different colours of orchids also have different meanings.
White orchids symbolise innocence and purity, as well as elegance and reverence. Meanwhile, pink orchids symbolise femininity, grace, and joy. They are famously bought as a gift to celebrate 14th and 28th anniversaries.
Yellow orchids symbolise friendship and new beginnings. They make great gifts for celebration in friendships.
Purple orchids symbolise royalty and admiration, and are traditionally given as a sign of respect. Orange orchids symbolise pride, enthusiasm, and boldness.
Blue orchids are rare and because of that, are often used to symbolise rarity. Often, they are used for meditation as they represent spirituality.
Lavender orchids symbolise grace, femininity, and elegance. They are perfect as a gift for mothers.
In general, the pink orchid and yellow orchids are great for Deepavali. As this festive season is all about spreading joy and new beginnings, here are Orchid picks that would be perfect for you.
Benevolent by BloomThis. This bouquet is the perfect gift to represent new beginnings. Its yellow bouquet is striking and bright enough for the festive season!
Phalaenopsis Orchids by BloomThis. These bright pink orchids are perfect for the Deepavali season. Its bright colours represents joy and would make a breathtaking decoration.
The perfect blooms for Deepavali are not strictly limited to the ones mentioned above. In fact, flowers such as roses, marigolds, jasmine, hibiscus, and even lotus are great for this festive season, in view of the fact that these flowers are all associated with the deities.
For instance, the Goddess Lakshmi statues typically depict her as sitting on a lotus flower. This is because it is said to be her favourite flower.
During this festive season, it is not rare to see these flowers placed as decorations in temples or homes. Marigolds are also often used because it is Lord Ganesha’s favourite. Meanwhile, flowers such as Jasmine has a scent that the Hindus believe can help to ward off evil. All in all, even roses are not rare to be seen in rangoli decorations.
What are your favourite activities to do during Deepavali and what are some of your favourite floral arrangements to celebrate the festival of light? Do let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!