One of our contributors, Sameera Begum writes this story about celebrating Deepavali (Diwali) as a Muslim. Some parts of the article may have been edited for length and clarity.
The Deepavali season has always been a very exciting period for me. Growing up as an Indian Muslim, I had many other Indian friends and have been exposed to their culture since I was a child. Over the years, many of my friends have invited me to their houses to celebrate Deepavali with them, which is always a joyful experience ?
My favourite part of the Deepavali celebration is the food! ? I love Indian cuisine and eating out at halal Indian restaurants. However, nothing beats the taste of homemade Indian food. I love trying out the dishes cooked by my friends’ mothers and grandmothers, making my Deepavali special ? And, of course, the kuehs and murukkus! I have learnt from my colleagues and friends that many families prepare their kuehs and murukkus from scratch, even though it is not an easy process. There is no lack of tasting the various kinds of murukkus and other delicacies prepared by them ?
One tradition that I have always enjoyed but is not as prevalent anymore is receiving Deepavali greeting cards. When I was in primary school, my friends and I exchanged handmade Deepavali cards with our wishes. I have also bought Deepavali greeting cards from the bazaar in Little India that featured my friends’ favourite Kollywood stars on the cover.
P.S. Heading to Little India? Check out our ultimate halal food guide for the bustling district!
More than the actual celebration, it is also fascinating to see how they prepare for the festival ? I recently worked in a place where most of my colleagues are Hindus, and I have learnt a lot about how they prepare for Deepavali! It is a very exciting time for them; naturally, the excitement also rubs on you. Similar to Eid, the Hindus also purchase new clothes and shop for new decoration items to adorn their homes. They shop for ingredients for the food and other traditional items, such as lamps needed for the prayers that happen every Deepavali morning. All these small bits of information have made me appreciate the Deepavali festival ?
P.S. Love learning about other cultures? Check out how our reader celebrated Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) in Seoul!
Over the years, I have learnt that it is important to cultivate mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s culture. I have picked up a lot of new knowledge and values from all these years of celebrating Deepavali with my peers, and I will always be grateful for this experience. With Covid-19 restrictions lifted off now, I can’t wait to celebrate the occasion with my friends in spirit! ?
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