Another public holiday is on the horizon, and while we all appreciate the break from work and maybe the chance to plan a brunch with family or friends, it’s also rewarding to discover more about the particular cultural festival being celebrated. Deepavali falls on 27 October this year, and here we run our eye over some of its key aspects and events.
What is Deepavali?
Celebrated by Hindus all over the world, it is a religious festival and major event in the Hindu calendar. Also known as Diwali, it marks the triumph of good over evil and, symbolically, light over darkness.
When is it celebrated and for how long?
The Hindu lunar calendar determined the date on which Deepavali falls. It typically occurs sometime in the months of October and November. The celebrations last about five days.
Why is it celebrated?
There are various legends surrounding this vibrant festival. One of the most popular ones is the story of the return of Lord Rama and his wife to their North Indian Kingdom after a 14-year exile. The people joyously welcomed him with thousands of lamps.
How is it celebrated?
Similar to how lamps were lit for Lord Rama’s return, diyas (oil lamps made of clay) are placed around homes during the festivities. Devotees also clean their homes to prepare for the occasion. Doorways and entrances are often decorated with rangoli – a traditional form of floor art which consists of beautiful patterns usually made out of flour, sand, flower petals or rice. These special decorations are to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, into the home.
The day begins early on Deepavali with rituals such as oil baths, putting on new clothes, heading to the temple to pray and visiting homes of friends and relatives for feasting. You can expect a mix of sweet and savoury eats and delicacies. They include mithai (South Asian sweets) such as gulab jamun and puran poli, a sweet Indian flatbread.
Where can I take part in the celebrations in Singapore?
The annual Deepavali light-up is on at Serangoon Road and Race Course Road in Little India from now until 10 November. Stroll along the streets and you’ll see all kinds of colourful arches, bright lights and other adornments.
Deepavali Festival Village
You’ll find plenty of festive atmosphere at the Deepavali Festival Village at Campbell Lane and Hastings Road in Little India. Open daily from 10am to 10pm, this bustling bazaar has many stalls to explore – offering everything from traditional wear, accessories, decorations, spices, festive treats and delicacies, to live music and henna tattoo art. It’s open until 26 October. While you’re there, you might want to pop by the Mustafa Centre for some more shopping!
Deepavali Hipster Bazaar
New this year, this cool fair will feature Indian fusion food. Held from now until 26 October at the open field next to Tekka Lane, the event will have more than 30 food stalls to explore.
Indian Heritage Centre
Pop by the Deepavali Open House on 12, 19, 26 and 27 October. Look forward to craft activities, interactive performances and more. Best of all, admission is free.
At this Deepavali countdown concert on 26 October (from 8pm), enjoy a fun evening of dance and music. There’ll also be a fireworks display to look forward to!
Gardens by the Bay
Happening at the Colonnade (Supertree Grove) from 14 to 18 October, Gardens by the Bay will be having informative and fun activities for Deepavali, including an Indian traditions exhibition and rangoli art reimagined with reused bottles.
From now until 27 October, the heartland mall will be celebrating the Festival of Lights with cultural activities and experiences, including performances, rangoli workshops and a festive bazaar with festive treats and accessories to check out.
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