Take advantage of Singapore’s unique cultural cross-section and discover Deepavali – a Hindu festival celebrated around the world. Also known as The Festival of Lights, this symbolic holiday dates back to ancient India, commemorating the triumph of light over darkness and the victory of good over evil.
Running from 10 November 2015, this five-day festival is the perfect time to explore the sights, sounds and smells of Little India. Find out what awaits with our helpful guide to Singapore’s Deepavali celebrations.
Image by:David Sifry
See the lights in Little India
While the bright hues of freshly ground spices and hand-woven saris are a staple in Little India all year round, this bustling neighbourhood becomes even more vibrant during Deepavali. During the festival, ornate flower garlands, fluorescent lights and softly glowing lanterns form archways above the area’s main streets, creating a spectacular visual effect. Beyond Little India’s centre, Hindu homes are also decorated with elaborate displays in the hopes of beckoning in friendly deities who will provide good fortune and prosperity for the year ahead.
Image by:Khalzuri Yazid
Become a part of the crowd
Traditionally a time of year when brightly-coloured, ornate clothing is worn by both men and women, the easiest way to blend in with the locals during Deepavali is to embrace the customary dress. Choose from the kaleidoscope of saris, pashminas and Punjabi suits that brim from Little India’s street-side kiosks, or opt for a henna tattoo – an intricate, temporary design applied to the skin using plant-based pigments.
Visit the Festival Village
Open to revellers for the entire month surrounding the festival period, the Festival Village is the epicentre of this Hindu celebration. Set up in the style of an Indian bazaar, this vibrant marketplace teems with hundreds of vendors, delighting buyers with colourful handicrafts, tasty street snacks and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Get a taste of the culture
More than just a celebration of light, Deepavali delights festival-goers with traditional delicacies of all kinds. Make your way to one of Little India’s authentic restaurants to indulge in tandoori chicken, freshly prepared naan bread, yoghurt raitas and homemade chutneys, or opt for something sweet from one of the area’s hawker stalls, like halwa burfi – a delectable carrot-based fudge topped with dried fruits and nuts.
Tour a Hindu temple
With one of the city’s oldest Hindu temples nestled in the heart of Little India, travellers need not go far to see another side of the Deepavali festival. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and explore Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, an opulent place of worship covered in brightly-coloured figurines and intricate detailing. Filled with parishioners offering prayers to Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, this beautiful temple provides visitors with an entirely different perspective on the Deepavali celebrations.
Treat yourself to an authentic cultural experience this spring. Discover Deepavali with a stay at PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road, just steps away from Little India and the Festival Village.