Singapore Deepavali Festival

Deepavali festival is an important festival celebrated by Hindu in Singapore. It normally occurs in October or November every year.

It is also known as Diwali festival or the festival of light. It is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil and there is a legend behind this celebration.

Legend of Deepavali Festival

Once upon a time, the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram was ruled by a demon named Narakasura. Under the demon's rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace.

Unable to tolerate this wickedness, Lord Khrishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, thus Deepavali is the celebration of the defeat of the evil demon Narakasura, by Lord Krishna.

How it is celebrated in Singapore

Singaporean Hindus will clean or redecorate their houses a few weeks before Deepavali festival. They will shop for new clothes, visit Indian shops to buy greeting cards, carpets, Punjabi suits and flowers. On the actual day, Hindus will get up early in the morning to take a ritual oil bath to remove impurities from their bodies, after which they will dress themselves in brightly colored clothes, except for the color black as it is considered inauspicious.

Kolam, which is the art of floor-painting using colored rice grains or powdered rice, is used to decorate the entrance of all homes or offices. Diyas or oil lamps of different shapes are lit and placed everywhere in the home so that the Goddess Lakshmi can find her way around and bless the household. It is also common to find 11 mango leaves being used to decorate the main door of the house, as the Hindu believe that this leaf arrangement will attract positive energy and repel away evil.

Place to visit during Deepavali

If you are in Singapore during the Deepavali festival month, you must visit Little India in Singapore. The Indian community of Singapore and Indian foreign workers will gather at Little Indian temple to do their prayer and festive shopping.

Streets in Little India are illuminated with spectacular lights and decorated with flower garlands and glittering tinsel. You will be able to see numerous stalls and Indian shops selling costumes such as Saris, Punjabi suits, shining jewellery, aromatic spices and jasmine garlands.

How to go little India

Nearest MRT Little India station (NE7)

Bus Number: 67, 851, 980, 960, 48, 56, 57, 66, 166, 170R, 66A, 1N, 3N, 5N, 6N

View Singapore: LITTLE INDIA TRAVEL GUIDE in a larger map

Festival food

During Deepavali, Hindus cook their traditional dishes to celebrate with their family and friends. Some popular non-vegetarian dishes include sweets such as halw burfi and laddoo, dishes such as tandoori chicken, prawn sambal and fish head curry. Vegetarian dishes would include thosai, idlis and naan. You may get the opportunity to sample these dishes at restaurants in Little India during the Deepavali period.

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