PETALING JAYA: Today is a solemn time for Christians marking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, but for Tamils, Sikhs and Malayalees it is full of joy.
While the Tamils observe the new year celebration of Puthandu, Malayalee Hindus will have a similar festival to mark Vishu. The Sikhs, meanwhile, will observe Vaisakhi, commemorating the formation of the Khalsa.
In George Town, Penang, the Christians – mainly Catholics and Anglicans – gathered in churches yesterday on the fifth day of Holy Week to celebrate Maundy Thursday, commemorating the last supper of Jesus.
The highlight of the ceremony was the re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of the apostles during The Last Supper, which was his final meal before his crucifixion and death on Good Friday that is remembered today.
At the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Penang, acting parish priest Rev Father Anthony Liew was seen kneeling and pouring water over the feet of 12 seated parishioners near the altar.
He used a small towel to wipe each foot dry, bowing in humility. He also presided at a mass in front of a full congregation.
Rev Liew was accompanied by cantors, who filled the cathedral with song, and members of the liturgy committee who carried out various duties during the 5pm mass yesterday.
In Kuala Lumpur, Tamils were seen buying flowers and garlands from stalls along a lane, off Jalan Tun Sambanthan, in Brickfields, for Puthandu.
Among them was A. Revathi, 34, who said she usually opts for a simple celebration.
“I buy flowers for decoration and fruits for guests,” she said.
Florists could be seen expertly weaving garland after multi-coloured garland, with yellow being the most prominent hue.
Befitting its informal title of Little India, the Brickfields area was alive with activity yesterday on Tamil New Year eve.
In front of the Seetharam Restaurant on Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Augustin Amaladass was busy serving customers buying ladhus and halwa.
“Business is usually good on days like this. They buy the sweets to serve to family members and guests after prayers,” he said, gesturing to the customers.
He said the stall was always busier after working hours because many were doing last-minute preparations.
A few steps away, R. Santy was doing brisk business selling mango and coconut leaves, used to decorate their homes.
“The coconut leaves are especially popular as they are for good luck,” said the 50-year-old woman.