If there is one occasion that means jubilation for the Hindu world, it is Deepavali, the Festival of Lights. The illumination, fireworks and festivity, observed on the 14th day of the Tamil month of Aippasi, is to signify the triumph of good over evil. On Deepavali Eve, home altars are decorated and lamps are lit. At dawn, a ritual oil bath is performed, signifying a cleansing of the body and soul, and marking a new beginning. A visit to the temple, where Hindu deities are adorned with flower garlands, follows. In Malaysia the food is prepared kosher so Hindus can share it with their Muslim friends. As a national holiday (except in the state of Sarawak), people get the day off and most businesses are closed.
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