Photo by Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA)
As one of the major cultural festivals in Singapore, Deepavali (also known as “Diwali” or the “Festival of Lights”) is a celebration that marks the triumph of good over evil.
It’s when thousands of Hindu families in the city—and across the world—transform their homes into beacons of light, exchange gifts, share feasts and perform pooja (prayers) to deities such as Lakshmi, the goddess of fertility and prosperity.
Soak in the atmosphere
Before the day of the festival, Hindu families throng Little India to gear up at the district’s many bazaars, and snap photos of the stunning street light-up.
The monumental installations, Instagram-worthy decorations and bright festive lights will stand in the neighbourhood for about a month after Deepavali, so there’s plenty of time to celebrate with the locals.
Chase the scents of floral garlands and incense while browsing through stalls hawking gold jewellery, traditional snacks, embroidered sari (traditional Indian womenswear) and ornamental decorations.
Enjoy a musical performance under the stars while getting an intricate henna tattoo done. Or simply park yourself at any of the neighbourhood’s many coffee shops with a mug of teh tarik (pulled milk tea) to watch one of the most beautiful festivals in Singapore blossom.
Celebrate Deepavali 2023
This year’s Festival of Lights will see a line-up of exciting programmes and activities, both on-ground and virtual that will allow for a delightful celebration for families and loved ones. Kicking off the celebrations will be the annual street light-up in Little India starting from 30th September 2023.
Families can also look forward to exciting events such as street and fashion shows, flower decorating workshops and all the excitement of the Deepavali Festival Village. Be sure to check out the food bazaar for a medley of traditional treats and savoury snacks.
Find out more about the exciting celebrations at www.deepavali.sg.
Discover heritage and tradition
To learn more about the Hindu community, follow the Silver Chariot procession, held twice in the lead-up to Deepavali. Devotees tow a silver chariot that houses an effigy of the goddess Sri Drowpathai Amman all the way from the Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown—the oldest of its kind in Singapore—to Little India.
About a week before the big day, the Sri Mariamman Temple hosts another cultural spectacle: Theemithi. In a ritual that continues well into the night, witness thousands of men walk on burning charcoal as a tribute to the goddess.