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Thursday, 13 April 2017

A significant Friday for five million Malaysians

Deep in prayer: A man reciting the 1,430-page Sikh holy scriptures known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji during the prayers session to mark the Vasakhi celebration at the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib in Jalan Gurdwara, Penang.

Deep in prayer: A man reciting the 1,430-page Sikh holy scriptures known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji during the prayers session to mark the Vasakhi celebration at the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib in Jalan Gurdwara, Penang.

PETALING JAYA: Some five million Malaysians will observe religious and cultural events tomorrow.

While it will be a solemn affair for Christians who mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, Tamils, Malayalees and Thais will rejoice in their respective new year celebrations of Puthandu, Vishu and Songkran, and Sikhs will observe Vaisakhi to commemorate the formation of the Khalsa.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) chairman Jagir Singh said it would be a great opportunity for all Malaysians to unite in prayer.

“It will be a time to bond and pray for our peace and prosperity. We should appreciate our faiths and celebrate our common values,” he said yesterday.

He said Vaisakhi was significant as it marked the day in 1699 when Sikhism was given its unique identity through the creation of the Khalsa.

He said some 100,000 Sikhs will throng 120 gurdwaras nationwide to pray and celebrate with their families.

Malaysia Hindu Sangam project manager M. Nagaranee said about 1.5 million Tamils will usher in Puthandu with prayers and festivities.

“It is an auspicious and happy occasion where Tamils will greet each other Happy New Year,” she said.

Ready to roll: Boonchom (centre) and his stall helpers showing the water guns which will be used during the Songkran Water Festival at the Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist temple in Burmah Lane, Penang.
Ready to roll: Boonchom (centre) and his stall helpers showing the water guns which will be used during the Songkran Water Festival at the Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist temple in Burmah Lane, Penang.  

Nagaranee said a celebration will be held at Brickfield’s Little India on Saturday showcasing traditional Tamil dances and food.

Council of Churches of Malaysia’s general-secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri said churches would offer prayers for Christians persecuted around the world, those killed in the recent Egypt bombings, and the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife.

Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) president Tan Sri Kenneth Eswaran urged Indian businessmen and entrepreneurs to unite and celebrate their New Year with a shared objective.

“I am confident that this New Year will bring the best to all of us. Let us pray that it will bring peace and harmony to the underprivileged and less fortunate,” he said in a statement.

More than 20,000 revellers are expected to get drenched at the Wat Chayamangkala­ram and Dhammi­karama Buddhist temples at Burma Lane in Penang when the three-day Songkran water festival gets underway to usher in the Thai New Year.

The festival in Thailand marks the traditional New Year festivities in accordance with Buddhist and Hindu solar calendars.

The Dhammikarama Temple will also be celebrating Myanmar’s New Year on Saturday and Sunday. Helpers were seen filling up huge water tanks, each able to hold up to 200 litres, at Wat Chayamangkala­ram, and preparing an array of water guns which will be on sale.

Organising chairman Boonchom Suwanprathum said he expects a huge crowd, including foreign tourists, at the temple.

“In Thailand, the celebration started as early as April 10. It is a four-day event there,” he said yesterday.

He said the biggest Songkran festival in Malaysia was usually at Titi Akar in Pendang, Kedah, where there is a large Malaysian-Thai community.

Tags / Keywords: Religion , easter , songkran

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