Festival of Lights 2021
A celebration of good triumphing over evil, Diwali (or Deepavali as it’s sometimes called) means “row of lights” in an Ancient language of India, called Sanskrit. During this festival, people decorate their homes with lights and earthen oil lamps, called diyas.
Deepavali honours the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The lights and lamps are said to help Goddess Lakshmi find her way into peoples’ homes, bringing prosperity in the year to come! But it’s not just about lights and legends – Deepavali is a time to have fun with friends and family! People exchange gifts and sweets, enjoy delicious feasts, watch firework displays and wear new clothes. It’s a time to clean and decorate your home, too.
Here are numerous ways for you to take part in the celebration and bring on the festivities this Deepvali:
1. Drive through the DEEPAVALI light-up at Little India at night time or Go on an “Insta-walk” during the day
Every year, the streets of Little India never fail to take our breaths away with their iconic dazzling Deepavali light-up.
Whether you’re cruising through Serangoon Road and Race course road in a vehicle or on foot, you’ll be greeted by extensive rows of brightly lit crescent shaped arches. Look out for light displays of peacocks, lamps and lotuses. All three are central motifs of Deepavali, serving as symbols of Hindu gods and goddesses like Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune. Continuing the legacy of showcasing India’s architectural wonders, this year’s Deepavali light-up highlights the Gopuram (a storeyed tower serving as the entrance to a main temple) as its main feature, alongside pillars resembling intricate stone temple columns.
DURING THE DAY:
Little India is just as bright in the day as it is at night and it’s not just because of Singapore’s sweltering sun. There are plenty of vibrant murals, colourful buildings and street art within the vicinity that’ll catch your eye.
Dress your best, go on a free self-guided tour of Little India, and capture those Instagram-worthy shots.
2. EXPLORE, PARTICIPATE AND LEARN
The entrance to the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) is decked out with a miniature replica of the Deepavali street light-up. Snap those lit Instagram pictures as you take in the festive atmosphere. To celebrate the Festival of Lights, the IHC is hosting Deepavali drop-in craft activity sessions for anyone keen to try their hand at making their very own paper lamp. There’s no age limit, so both the young and the young-at-heart can participate. Also for those who like collecting unique money packets can get free limited-edition Deepavali-themed ones from the IHC.
At the same time, check out the Community On Colours 100,000 Paper Flowers installation at POLI@Clive Street this Deepavali. Various multi-racial organisations in Singapore constructed a giant 12.3M x 4.7M rangoli display with paper flowers made from recycled materials. This isn’t just any random paper flower craftwork – this installation made it into the Singapore Book Of Records for the largest rangoli made of newspaper strips.
Indian Heritage Centre Price: Free Date: Until 14th November 2021 Time: 7PM onwards, Daily Venue: Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
Community on Colours – Paper Flowers Installation Price: Free Date: Until 21st November 2021 Venue: POLI@Clive Street
Find out more about the Paper Flowers Installation
3. Have a biryani feast at 30 restaurants
A great part about the festive season is, without a doubt, indulging in scrumptious food while we celebrate the joyous occasion. And there’s nowhere better to feast on authentic Indian food than at Little India. 30 restaurants in the area have come together in the spirit of Deepavali to offer a variety of signature biryanis at promotional prices.
With a mega biryani fiesta happening over the next few weeks, you’ll get to try out different versions of the same dish at various restaurants scattered across Little India. Think chicken biryani, vegetarian claypot biryani and Arabic mandi biryani amongst others – we don’t blame you if you’re salivating just reading about it.
4. MAKE RANGOLI
It is a popular Diwali tradition – beautiful patterns made using colourful powders and flowers. People draw rangoli on the floor by the entrance of their homes to welcome the gods and bring good luck!
5. Visit Hindu Temples
Another great option for the best places to celebrate Diwali in Singapore, it’s one of the many temples in Singapore. As one of the more cultural things to do during Diwali, we highly recommend visiting one of Singapore’s stunning Hindu temples. Check out temples like the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple – one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples. Built in 1881, this temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali – also known as the destroyer of evil. If you’re planning to pay a visit to temples like this one, make sure to dress appropriately in tops that cover your shoulders and bottoms that are minimally knee-length.
Fun fact: Many people sought refuge here during the Japanese air raids in World War II. And whether it was by luck or divine intervention, this temple and all its statues survived the bombings completely unscathed.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Price: Free Time: 8AM-12PM, 6.30PM-9PM, Daily Venue: 141 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218042
Contributed by committee member Nidhi Passi Bhadani