It is a tradition for houses to be lighted with traditional oil lamps and decorative electric lights during the Ramadan month.
It is no different in Malacca, with villages having “friendly” competitions to encourage residents to light up their houses.
It is said that, in the days when Islam arrived among the Malays, the purpose of lighting oil lamps was to attract spirits and angels to descend to people’s homes during the night of Lailatulqadar.
Nowadays, the oil lamps are lit solely for decorative purposes and have become symbolic of Hari Raya Aidilfitri as with the pine tree for Christmas, kollum for Deepavali and red lanterns for Chinese New Year.
At Kampung Pangkalan Batu in Tanjung Bidara, residents of the 173 houses, including 18 traditional wooden houses built on stilts, put up oil lamps or pelita to decorate the village.
A village spokesman said all the villagers were cooperative and worked together as they knew the public took the effort to come and see the decorations every year.
Factory operator Mohd Faizal Abdulah, 24, said he spent RM800 to decorate his house with lights on the plants and trees surrounding his house as well as the roof.
He said that one of his best ideas was to drill holes in a dozen plastic bird feeders and sticking a small bulb in them.
“It was so colourful and beautiful that many people commended me for it,” he said.
Kampung Pangkalan Batu security and development community chairman Mohd Derus Tumpang said that 4,000 lamps were placed throughout the village.
“We bought 1,500 of the lamps and the rest was made with materials such as old bottles, bamboo, aerosol cans, tin cans and coconut shells,” he said.
He said the villagers created 15 types of lamps with their own money since the competition began on Sept 22.
“We spent RM200 a day to light the lamps with a mixture of kerosene and petrol,” he added.
The villagers' efforts paid off when they were declared winner of the inaugural state and district level best-decorated village/housing estate award. The villagers bagged a RM15,000 prize for their efforts.
Mohd Derus said they would use the money for next year’s competition as well as spruce up the village as a tourist destination.