SEREMBAN, Nov 2 — Deepavali is just around the corner, but preparations for the Indian Festival of Light seem cheerless and dreary due to public concerns with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
A visit by Bernama to Little India at Jalan Yam Tuan here found the area not as lively as it used to be during this time of the year, which is the busiest time for the Hindu community in the country as they make the final preparations for the celebration which falls on Nov 14.
Although some have made the necessary preparations, like buying new clothing and accessories to with their attire, traditional cookies and prayer paraphernalia for the occasion, most of the traders met said the shopping mood is not the same as in previous years.
People prefer to stay home for their safety, as well as that of their family members, rather than to be out in crowded places to avoid the risk of getting COVID-19, said trader R Vijahragavan, 58.
He said the business was slow as they were fewer people who shopped for Deepavali this year.
“In previous years, we can make a profit of between RM5,000 to RM6,000 a month, but this year, to get RM3,000 a month is difficult due to drop in sales,” he said, adding that he believed the public is more careful with their spending now as many people are affected by COVID-19.
Maruku seller, G Kuppan, 63, said his sales also dropped this year but believed it would pick up as the Deepavali celebration got nearer.
“My daily sale is only about RM100. Normally, during the festive season, I can get more sales, of up to RM300 to RM500 a day. I believe sales will pick up during the last week before Deepavali when the people make their last-minute shopping,” he added.
Clothing and textile trader S Anvarasan, 55, said the presence of customers at his shop was encouraging and expected more customers to come for last-minute shopping a week before the Deepavali festival.
“I thank the government for allowing us to operate as usual by adhering to standard operating procedures, thus helping us (traders) to recover our business and generate income,” he said.
Meanwhile, J Sarojini, 40, said she was able to spend less for this year’s Deepavali as the celebration will be on a moderate scale and under the new normal.
“I may celebrate the occasion only in Seremban and will not go anywhere else. I’m out today to shop for Deepavali and will limit my spending, as well as buy items that are necessary for use only for the first day of Deepavali,” she added.