Celebrating Deepavali in Singapore – What to Look Out For?

Deepavali is a festival which is literally a celebration about the triumph of light and colour over darkness.  Travelling round Singapore at the time of Deepavali you’ll see that everywhere is awash with lights and colours.  Whilst the lighting of a single lamp is enough to symbolise Deepavali, it is clear that in Singapore, a huge number of people are making a lot more effort than that.

Many residential houses are completely transformed, the doorways are often adorned with brightly coloured pictures which have been created out of coloured flour and rice, or freshly plucked flower petals. This pictures often depict shapes and patterns but some of the more artistic ones may have been turned into depictions of plants or animals.

Little India

It is believed that the souls of the dead return at this time so you will often see photographs of deceased relatives in the gardens of residences during Deepavali.  These photographs will have the person’s favourite food and clothes laid out in front of them to welcome them back.

If you want to get more involved in Deepavali yourself it’s easy, there is a huge amount going on all over the city. Little India is certainly the main place to be, the streets are completely transformed into a dreamlike fantasy with coloured lights and other gaudy decorations filling every nook and cranny and hanging from every archway.

Little India market

The bazaar seems to come to life even more than usual, with the rightly coloured saris and jewellery on offer adding to the backdrop of colour.  Spices, incense and flowers make sure that the smells are just as colourful as the surroundings. 

Open air concerts and other smaller scale musical entertainment can be found around every corner and there’s plenty of activities to join in with.  The brave might favour sitting for a henna tattoo, the pattern choices are as infinite as they are intricate.   

If you get hungry during the celebrations then not to worry, there are many restaurants and other eateries where you can sample an amazing curry, often the establishments have fantastic views of the festivities. 

If you want your Deepavali experience to be altogether more laid back then that’s OK too. Find a café or coffee shop along the route and relax and watch the colours whilst supping on a teh tarik, a local speciality which is a milky tea with a froth on top. 

Mike Stapley

Editor

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