PETALING JAYA: Tamils and Sikhs marked an auspicious day yesterday with grand celebrations of the Tamil New Year and Vaisakhi, respectively.
Despite being a Monday, many Tamils and Sikhs took time off to commemorate the day by visiting temples and gurdwara earlier in the day, wearing traditional costumes.
Some, however, wore their formal work clothes as they had to head to their offices after the prayers.
For Ganga Maniam, 40, Varusha Pirappu is an occasion to look forward to with her family.
“Since I was young, my parents never failed to take me to the temple,” she said at the Sri Sithi Vinayagar Temple here.
“Even if it was a school day, my father would allow me to skip school,” she added.
Ganga said her family had been making pongal for the Tamil New Year at the temple for the past 50 years.
She said her father, T.S. Maniam, 90, decided during his younger days to prepare the sweet rice offering for devotees who came to the temple.
“He started out small, with only half a kilogram of rice in the early days. However, as the temple became bigger, so did the offering,” said Ganga.
“These days, we use at least 10kg of rice.”
K. Vanisa, 26, who came for the prayers before heading to work said every year, her mother would cook at least seven types of vegetarian dishes for a family feast.
“However, since I am at work, I can only get to enjoy these at dinner with my family,” said the 26-year-old.
Varusha Pirappu marked the first day of the Chithirai Month, which is the first month in the Tamil calendar. In the Tamil calendar, this year is known as the Jaya year.
At the Gurdwara Sahib in Petaling Jaya, more than one thousand Sikhs celebrated Vaisakhi, which commemorates the establishment of the Khalsa in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
Khalsa refers to all dedicated and initiated Sikhs who adorn themselves with the 5Ks – kesh (unshorn hair), kara (steel bangle), kangga (wooden comb), kachhaira (shorts) and kirpan (sword).
Amarat Gill, 57, said she made it a point to come to the gurdwara every Vaisakhi for prayers.
“We have prayers at home too. I prepare some sweets, light a candle and head to the gurdwara,” she said.
“My father has always told us it is important to pray and congregate with the community during Vaisakhi. It is a good feeling,” she added.
Awatar Singh, 43, who is the vice-president of the Gurdwara Sahib here, said prayers began on Saturday.
He said it begun with the continuous reading of the 1,430-page Sri Guru Granth Sahib holy scripture by volunteers.
Awatar said volunteers also worked round the clock to cook food for devotees who visited the gurdwara over the three days.