Ethnic and expatriate Indians in Malaysia and Singapore on Monday celebrated Diwali, beginning their day with visits to local Hindu temples and later welcoming Malay and Chinese friends to their open houses.
"Open House" is a concept in these two southeastern Asian countries where people hold a large party inviting friends, relatives and guests of all faiths to share lunch or dinner with them.
A majority of the ethnic Indians in both Singapore and Malaysia are from Tamil Nadu. The local "little India" markets in both the countries have been overflowing with ethnic Indian wears like salwar kameez, kurta pajamas and sarees from India.
This year most ethnic Indian women in Malaysia have shown a preference for 'kalidar kameez' of the Mughul era design, apparently smitten by actress Aishwarya Rai's costumes in the film 'Jodha Akbar'. Men seem to be eyeing the Akshay Kumar blockbuster "Singh is King" style outfits.
The atmosphere in Singapore's Serangoon road or Malaysia's Brickfield resembles the crowded markets in Chennai or other areas in India.
The Malaysian Indian Congress, a component of the ruling Barisan Nasional, held its open house this morning which was attended by premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
There will be open houses across all the states in the country hosted by Indian leaders. The day is a public holiday in both the countries and the stock exchanges remain closed.