A low-key Deepavali for many


Choices aplenty: G. Gayathiri, 22, shopping for decorations in Little India, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Due to the ongoing recovery movement control order (MCO), Hindus here are resigned to the fact that the coming Deepavali celebration will be scaled down.

Housewife P. Lathakunalan, 53, said gatherings would be limited to immediate family members.

“This year’s Deepavali will be very different due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of us are limiting gatherings to our own families.

“Our family used to have up to 50 people visiting us in previous years, ” she said at King Street while shopping with her sister P. Chelvi, 59, yesterday.

Lathakunalan said both of their families, however, would be celebrating Deepavali separately.

“I came here from Butterworth to meet my sister for a shopping session. After this, we will return to our respective homes, ” she added.

G. Gayathiri, 22, and her brother Chanthurn, 23, both factory operators, said this year’s celebration would be a modest affair.

“It will be a simple get-together for our family of 10, which will include going to the temple, ” she added.

Meanwhile, traders in Little India are observing slow business.

Y.S. Perumal, 70, who sells books, gift items and decorations, said most shoppers were on a tight budget.

“There are fewer people coming out and they are buying fewer items, ” he said.

Saree trader M.P. Alagarsamy, 75, said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he had imported about 40% less stock from India.

“We used to import much more but due to the pandemic, which has hit India badly, trade between our countries has been affected.

“Fortunately, most of us prepared ahead and ordered stock a few months earlier, ” he added.

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