WHEN two significant Malaysian festivals are celebrated in the same month, shopping complexes relish the chance to highlight local cultures and showcase creativity via their festive decorations. After all, it’s DeepaRaya again this year.
At 1 Utama, for instance, a majestic palace of Moorish-Islamic architecture takes pride of place at the lower ground floor. Its theme is “Sinar Aidilfitri.”
Apart from the masterpiece is a giant congkak that has been placed in the middle of the Oval exhibition area. The six-metre long wooden structure has rattan balls in its holes instead of the usual pebbles or marbles.
“The congkak is to show the popular game to the public and tourists,” said 1 Utama centre manager Kenny Chin. Shoppers are even encouraged to play the traditional game.
Surrounding the model palace are 16 kiosks with festive merchandise that range from fashion accessories, handicraft and cookies to apparel.
There is also a semi-outdoor Ramadan Bazaar with over 30 stalls. Sharing the spotlight, in conjunction with DeepaRaya, is a 3-D kolam at the ground floor of Highstreet. It features striking rainbow colours, with multi-levelled platforms. The kolam is on display until Oct 22. Multi-talented musicians, brothers Ram and Aanantha, will perform on Deepavali day.
The complex also hosts its own Pasti Hebat Family Game Show every Tuesday and Thursday, where three teams of three members each will battle it out in various challenges, including a game of congkak. And, on weekends, there are fashion shows from Noor Arfa, My Diamond and Bill Keith among others, besides performances by Ferhad, Ahli Fiqir, Dina (of Malaysian Idol), Rabbani and a bhangra dance.
Bangsar Village sees stuffed elephants hanging down from the ceiling amid a burst of batik.
Its facade also sports a huge ketupat, made from Styrofoam and wrapped in green ribbons.
Shoppers can find a wide variety of goods at stalls that sell baju kebaya, baju Melayu, sarong, shawls, beaded handbags and jewellery. Over in Bukit Bintang, Sungei Wang Plaza features the grandeur of a traditional Malay palace with intricately carved tapestry holders alongside jasmine flowers that hang above the entrance and the surroundings of the main stage area.
The brightly decorated stage, with colours such as gold, brown and silver, has been made to give the impression of a royal courtyard while imitating a classical Malay drama set. Surrounding the stage are traditional oil lamps. “It is difficult to choose a theme as our complex has celebrated so many Hari Raya,” said Sungei Wang public relations officer K.K. Lim
The complex, which will turn 30 next year, is showcasing both contemporary and classical joget styles from Joget Pahang, Joget Searampang 12 to Joget Hitam Manis and Joget Usik Mengusik.
The Swatari Dance Group is also conducting a joget workshop with the shoppers.
Besides these are booths that sell traditional clothes, cookies and accessories at the concourse level.
To rekindle the nostalgia of yesteryears, go on a “Tradisi Aidilfitri” trip at SACC Mall Shah Alam.
A replica of a kampung house, made from wood and Styrofoam, greets visitors at the atrium. It is basked in an environment rich in culture and tradition.
A dodol kawah (wok for stirring dodol) sits on the porch, while potted plants and an old bicycle lie outside.
Replicas of lemang are also piled up over firewood.
Enhancing the atmosphere is the pangkin at the balai with its rumbia roof and a mengkuang mat to sit on.
SACC Mall marketing manager Zawiah Mohd Thani said the management wanted visitors to relive memories of their kampung days.
Carved partitions, called kerawang, are used as display structures for the mall’s tenants and retailers to exhibit their merchandise that include traditional apparels, home decor items, paintings and exquisite handicraft.
A stage has been set up on the kampung house’s veranda to host musical performances.
Until Oct 20, D'Muzika is playing a repertoire of Malay tunes from 5.30pm to 7pm.
Over the weekend, there will also be a ketupat-weaving competition while veteran artiste Datuk Ahmad Jais and comedian-cum-singer Sallih Yaacob perform for the shoppers.
For some buka puasa dishes, the aromatic rendang from Che Don Kiosk at the lower ground floor is a must-try. Outlets like 100 Spices and De Palma Cafe also serve Ramadan buffet for those yearning for some home-cooked food.
A Ramadan bazaar has also been set up to sell items from hampers to cookies.
Suria KLCC is going on a “Tales of Tradition,” theme, designed to evoke a sense of warmth and nostalgia and to reinstate traditional values.
“It captures the splendour of a true Malaysian spirit when celebrating Hari Raya and Deepavali,” said Suria KLCC marketing manager Datin Rafidah Jalil.
A small town set, featuring Malay and Indian streets, draws on the concept of an “old bazaar,” with shoplots inspired by the architectural styles of the 1960s and 1970s.
The traditional shoplots are the focal point of the festivities, where shoppers learn about the art of ketupat weaving, making jasmine garland and henna tattooing.
Ghazal and keroncong tunes, as well as Indian classical music, add to the DeepaRaya celebrations.
“We named our festive decoration Icon of Festivities as each icon represents a particular celebration,” said Rafidah.
The Suria KLCC skylight in the Centre Court has been decorated with grand chandeliers and swirls of stylised ketupat and pelita, as well as sparkling lights and glittering ornaments.