by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIANS were separated from their family and friends for close to two years after the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Festive seasons, birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated quietly, some over video calls, while others in solitude. They endured this separation, knowing that it was for the best to keep their loved ones safe and that surely they will reunite one day.
The nation waited full of hope as the vaccination rate climbed, nearing the 90% target after which, the government promised the reopening of state borders.
The much-awaited announcement came on Oct 11, which was timely as the long Maulidur Rasul weekend was coming up with Deepavali also just around the corner.
Being one of the country’s biggest festive seasons, it was expected that those celebrating Deepavali would flock to their favourite shops for home decorations and outfits.
However, while many might be looking forward to reopening their doors to guests, Kogilavani Krishanan was a little nervous about the celebrations this year since the virus is still among us.
“Although I have chosen to go ahead with the usual preparations of Deepavali, it will be a safe celebration just among family members, still observing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and no mass gatherings or open houses,” she told The Malaysian Reserve.
“Last year’s Deepavali was a quiet one, where we just did video calls and had long and good chats with family and friends,” she said, adding that what she missed the most about Deepavali was her mother’s delicious cooking.
Despite brick-and-mortar shops now open, Kogilavani did her Deepavali shopping online, which is hassle-free and reduces the risk of being exposed to Covid-19. She reminded that although Deepavali celebration would be almost back to normal, health and safety are still more important.
“For those going back to their hometown, please take the Covid-19 test beforehand.
“Cancel your plans if you are unwell. Do not go and spread any type of virus to the people you love.”
Although Malaysia has entered the endemic phase, the fight against Covid-19 is not over and some fear that another wave would occur following the resumption of interstate travel and domestic tourism. Because of this, Jayanthi Elan Kovan has decided to celebrate Deepavali at home.
“This year, I will have a low-key Deepavali with my immediate family. I will do the same thing as last year, which is talking to my relatives and friends via video calls and group chats.
“It might have been a little dull, but technology has allowed us to share the spirit of Deepavali,” said the content review manager.
Jayanthi’s usual Deepavali routine would include her family gathering at her uncle’s house to perform ancestral prayers and seek their blessings. “We would start getting together on the eve of Deepavali but because of the pandemic, we will not be able to do it, but never a regret.”
She also prefers to shop online since there are more options in choosing traditional and modern attires. For this Deepavali, Jayanthi advises everyone to keep following the SOPs such as double-masking and carrying sanitisers.
To hype up the spirit of Deepavali, shopping malls are welcoming the return of the Festival of Lights by displaying colourful decorations while retailers have gone all-out with promotions and sales.
Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust Malls entices shoppers with its bright decorations, vibrant “kolam” designs, delicious offers on Indian cuisines, irresistible shopping deals and exclusive offers.
With the theme “Journey of Colours”, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is currently displaying a 500m “kolam” runway designed by students from Raffles College, INTI International College Subang and INTI Centre of Art and Design.
The decoration connects the precincts of Couture Pavilion and Connection, via the Pavilion Crystal Fountain, and consists of more than 100 different designs.
They represent Malaysia’s diversity, the sacred symbols of Deepavali and the triumph of light over darkness.
Da Men USJ in Subang Jaya, Selangor, has a peacock “kolam” which showcases the triumph of good over darkness, with the theme “Lights of Happiness”.
The 15ft by 15ft “kolam” was created by children between five and 12 years old from Global Art, who spent 200 hours working on it. Shoppers can also have fun with the “kolam” by participating in the Da Men’s Lights of Happiness Peacock Contest, where they need to count the number of peacocks on Da Men USJ’s Facebook page to stand the chance to win Suki-Ya cash vouchers worth RM20.
Meanwhile, Intermark Mall’s “kolam” is made of colourful gems and jewels which represents its “Glorious Deepavali” theme. The decoration is accompanied by two Deepavali pop-ups by WA Store Footwear and Carven Ong Couture on the Ground Floor.