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 celebrations of this cultural festival. In 2022, Deepavali falls on 24 October. Here, we run our eye over what Deepavali is, some of its key aspects and things to do.
What is Deepavali?
Celebrated by Hindus all over the world, it’s 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?
#1 Deepavali Light-Up
Catch the annual Deepavali light-up in Little India, which kicked off in September. Stroll along the streets and you’ll see all kinds of colourful arches, bright lights and other adornments such as peacocks and lotus flowers.
#2 Deepavali Festival Village
Shop till you drop at the annual bazaar in Little India! In October, Campbell Lane hosts Deepavali Festival Village, where you can take your pick of colourful apparel, tasty desserts, festive decor and other popular items.
#3 Indian Heritage Centre
This year, the Indian Heritage Centre’s (IHC) Deepavali Open House welcomes everyone to celebrate the occasion with an exciting array of programmes. In a first for IHC, visitors will be able to enjoy the annual Little India Deepavali street light-up and decorations on the Deepavali Big Bus Tour, which will run over the Open House weekends.
Other Deepavali-themed programmes include craft workshops, cooking-demos, heritage trails, and evening trishaw rides. Find out more at ihc-programmes.peatix.
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