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.
Deepavali Celebrations 2021 goes hybrid!
This year’s Festival of Lights will see a line-up of specially curated programmes and activities, both on-ground and virtual that will allow for a delightful celebration for families and loved ones. Kicking off the month-long celebrations will be the annual street light-up in Little India starting from 25th September 2021, which will feature ‘Gopuram’ as the main decorative piece to welcome the joyous celebration of Lights, and many other intricate artworks.
Families can also look forward to exciting events such as art installations, treasure hunts and a Briyani Fiesta with exclusive discounts and promotions in Little India! For those who prefer to soak in the festivities in the comfort of your own home, there are virtual activities that you can participate which include food masterclasses and demonstrations, entertainment shows, TikTok dance challenges and even a karaoke competition!
Don’t miss out the Deepavali mega event online show on 4th November 2021, which will feature a marathon of dance, songs, drama and variety show that will accompany you in your celebrations!
Find out more about the celebrations at www.deepavalisg.com
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.
A divine welcome
It's hard not to notice a Hindu home during Deepavali. Each doorway boasts a beautiful, vividly-coloured picture created out of flour, rice or flower petals. It can take the form of a geometric pattern, a floral shape or a more detailed representation of animals or nature. Known as rangoli, these artworks are created to usher deities into the home, so that they can bless the household for the year ahead.