Celebrating the Festival of Lights

By Qi Tyng Leong – Contributing Writer

While people in the States waited for the election results, the Herts Malaysian Society threw a Deepavali celebration in collaboration with the Mixed Bag Society. The event was an entertaining evening for Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike.

One of the first things that caught my attention in the venue was the kolam, a form of drawing using coloured or dyed rice. Traditionally, the kolam is thought to bring prosperity.

Credit: Arina Dalila & Sofia Emily

The celebration started with an animated short, entitled ‘Ramayana’, telling the story of how the Festival of Lights came to be. Ramayana was a classic story of good versus evil; Lord Rama has to rescue his wife, Sita, from the Demon King Ravana, and enlisted the help of his brother Lakshmana, and a monkey possessing special powers known as Hanumana.

The group activity that followed was led by two of the performers. They got the crowd to sort themselves according to the colour of their shirts, before inviting members of the crowd to dance with them. The crowd was initially shy, but gradually some daring ones went up to the dancefloor and showed everyone what they could do. The activity resulted in a lot of laughter.

Credit: Arina Dalila & Sofia Emily

Afterwards, there was a feast of Bagara Rice, Paneer Butter Masala, Dhaal and Raitha. For dessert, there was Seviyan Kheer. Judging by the speed of the crowd heading towards the serving table, food was definitely on everyone’s mind that night. Luckily, there was still a lot of food left when I got to the table. I had a combination of the sauces with my rice, and I was surprised to find that they tasted good together.

Credit: Arina Dalila & Sofia Emily

While we were filling our tummies, we were serenaded by Vel with a guitar. The crowd enjoyed his performance, and requested two more songs. Sara Natalia gave an impromptu rendition of Coldplay’s Yellow, with Yassir Jamain as the guitarist.

The last performance of the night was a Bollywood dance by Darshaalini Nadarajan, Vismaya W. George, and Jan. The night ended with some of the audience taking the opportunity to show off their K-Pop dance moves under the dimmed lights on an open dancefloor.

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