The Deepavali celebration in Singapore might sound like a new thing to most people. But it is celebrated every year with much grandeur. In terms of festivals, Deepavali is the most celebrated Indian festival of all festivals celebrated by South Asian people. Deepavali, as we know, is a festival of light. It has its roots in the great Indian epic Ramayana. Read on to find out how to celebrate Deepavali 2023 in Singapore.
Indians are the third largest ethnic group in Singapore. Hindus constitute 5% of the total population. Other communities, such as Sikhs, also partake in the celebration. As with every Deepavali festival worldwide, there is no shortage of lights and food. It is one of Singapore’s major cultural festivals celebrated with great enthusiasm. The idea behind the celebration is the same as in India; it stands for the victory of good over evil, the victory of light over darkness.
Tracing the Influence
During the 7th century CE, Hindu religion and culture reached the land of Singapore through the Temasek trade post of the Hindu-Buddhist Srivijaya Empire. A millennium later, the British East India Company brought several people from South India as indentured laborers in colonial Singapore. These factors served as an impetus for establishing Hindu culture in Singapore.
When will Deepavali 2023 be observed in Singapore?
In 2023, Singapore Diwali will be celebrated on the 12th of November. The government officially recognizes the festival. On the primary day of celebration, there is a public holiday. Deepavali is celebrated annually in the seventh month of Kartik, according to the Hindu calendar.
Why is Deepavali celebrated in Singapore every year?
For Hindus, Deepavali is the day on which Lord Rama returned to his home in Ayodhya after being in exile for nearly 14 years and killing the demon king, Ravana. Upon his return, the people of Ayodhya revered him so intensely that they lit the whole of Ayodhya city with diyas (oil lamps). However, different Indian communities in Singapore have different interpretations of the day. For example, the Tamils hold Deepavali as pious as this was the day when Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.
The Sikhs celebrate this day to mark the event when their sixth guru was released from prison. For Buddhists, King Ashoka of the Maurya Empire adopted Buddhism on this day. The Jains believe that their guru Mahavira attained moksha on this day. It shows how different religions celebrate a single festival for multiple reasons. Hence, Deepavali holds excellent cultural as well as religious significance.
How do Singaporeans celebrate Deepavali?
Unlike in other regions, the bursting of firecrackers is banned in Singapore. However, soundless fireworks may be used in the celebrations. Deepavali is not a one-day event but a five-day celebration. Therefore, it calls for elaborate preparations in advance. The five days have their meanings and names. They are Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdashi, Diwali, Balipadyami, and Bhai Dooj. Singaporeans engage in the celebration in the following ways:
Festive Preparations for Deepavali 2023
The preparations start by discarding the trash. The house is cleaned extensively to get rid of dust and other impurities. Many people renovate their houses as well. New things are bought, such as furniture, bed sheets, cushions, and even a broom. Home shrines and their idols are reorganized. All of this is done to ward off negative energy and welcome Goddess Lakshmi, who stands for prosperity and wealth. Homes are lit with lights and lamps. Flowers are hung on the door frames. The whole house smells of aromatic incense sticks during the Deepavali home decoration period. Beautiful and intricate designs called Rangoli and Kolam are made on floors and walls. People buy new clothes and accessories to wear on auspicious occasions.
Be it in Singapore or any other place, Deepavali celebrations are incomplete without sweets. In South Asia, on any occasion, sweets are a must. In traditional households, Deepavali sweets are preferably homemade including gujiya, peda, and rasgulla – cottage cheese balls drenched in sugar syrup. Motichoor laddus are another sweet delicacy cherished by everyone. These laddus are prepared by binding fried granules of gram flour batter mixed with sugar syrup.
Since Singapore has a considerable population of Tamilians, the traditional South Indian sweets and snacks include adhirasam, seedai, kara mixture, and murukku.
On the main day of celebration, people do puja and pray to Lakshmi-Ganesha for wellness and prosperity. People visit temples in the evening. The most famous temples of Singapore are the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple and the Sri Mariamman Temple. These temples are beautiful and showcase the clear influence of South Indian temple architecture. On the day of Deepavali, the temples are adorned with decorations, giving out a splendid sight.
Visiting family and friends
After the prayers are offered, people go out to meet their friends or welcome them to their homes. Deepavali becomes a good reason to invite guests and host parties. Sweets, snacks, and gifts are exchanged with family, friends, and neighbors. Once you are done with Deepavali celebrations, you can head for a quick vacay to nearby places like Genting Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and others. Book bus ticket on redBus and save more on bus ticket bookings!
You might be interested in knowing more about Places to Visit in Singapore with Family
Where to Celebrate Deepavali 2023 in Singapore?
There are several events and places to look for in Singapore during Deepavali. However, the best place to celebrate Deepavali 2023 in Singapore is undoubtedly Little India.
This place is a must-visit. The visitors to Little India are welcomed by bright lights and soothing Indian classical music. Deepavali 2023 at Little India in Singapore is full of life and enthusiasm. You can do a lot on your visit to Little India such as –
- One can go on a shopping spree for all things Indian.
- Buy traditional Indian clothing and accessories, carry home beautiful souvenirs, and eat mouth-watering Indian delicacies at restaurants.
- Enjoy the Deepavali Utsavam, which is a road light-up and parade ceremony.
- Visit temples to dive deep into the spiritual aspect of the celebration and witness how the rituals are carried out. You can offer prayers at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Deepavali Festival Village: Where Tradition Meets Shopping
A visit to the Festival Village along Campbell Lane is an essential part of the Deepavali experience. This bustling shopping area comes alive with street merchants offering traditional clothing, handicrafts, snacks, and festive decorations. Located right next to the Indian Heritage Centre, it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Deepavali spirit.
This year, the Deepavali Festival Village will be open from September 30th to November 11th, 2023, operating from 10 am to 10 pm until November 9th. On November 10th and 11th, it will stay open till late, from 10 am to 1 am.
Deepavali Food Bazaar: A Gastronomic Delight
From September 25th to November 11th, 2023, the Deepavali Food Bazaar at Poli @ Clive Street beckons food enthusiasts. Running from 2 pm to 10 pm, this culinary extravaganza offers a tantalizing array of Indian cuisines and goodies. It’s the perfect opportunity to savor the flavors of Deepavali and immerse yourself in its rich culinary heritage.
LISHA Fashion Show: Where Fashion Meets Tradition
On October 21st, 2023, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, a unique LISHA Fashion Show will take place outside the Indian Heritage Centre. Models will grace the stage in a fusion of North and South Indian designs, providing inspiration for your Deepavali outfit. It’s also a chance to appreciate the cultural significance of clothing during these festive celebrations.
Treasure Hunt: Discover Little India’s Hidden Gems
Embark on a cultural adventure on October 14th and 28th, 2023, with a Treasure Hunt that unveils Little India’s hidden cultural gems. This fun and educational team activity takes you through the vibrant streets of Little India. Solve puzzles, decode clues, and explore the rich tapestry of Indian heritage while competing for exciting prizes!
Participants must be 12 years old or above, and those under 18 require parental consent. Registration is necessary to participate.
Rangoli / Kolam Workshop: Embracing Art and Tradition
Delve into the ancient Indian art form of kolam, also known as rangoli in Northern India, on October 7th, 2023, at 11 am at Tekka Place. Join professional Kolam artists as they guide you step-by-step through the intricate patterns and cultural significance of this beautiful tradition. It’s a unique opportunity to learn a new skill while understanding the symbolic victory of light over darkness that kolam represents.
Flower Tying & Decorating Workshop: Unveiling Floral Symbolism
Participate in a workshop on October 21st, 2023, at Tekka Place, where you’ll not only gain hands-on experience in tying flowers but also delve into the cultural aspects and symbolism associated with each bloom. This workshop offers a deeper appreciation of Indian culture through the art of flower decoration.
Live Cooking Demonstration: A Culinary Journey
Witness a live cooking demonstration by celebrity chef Chef Arifin on November 4th, 2023, from 4 pm to 5 pm at Tekka Place, BACOS the Dine. Chef Arifin will share insights into ingredient selection, food preparation techniques, and the delicate art of flavor balancing. It’s a unique opportunity to enhance your culinary skills and savor the flavors of Deepavali.
Deepavali Big Bus Tour: Exploring Little India
To soak in the festive atmosphere of Little India, join a special tour by Big Bus tours. This tour will guide you through the key highlights of Little India before concluding at Race Course Road, outside Gayathri Restaurant. As an added bonus, each participant will receive a $5 voucher from the Gayathri restaurant!
The Deepavali Big Bus Tour is scheduled for October 20th and 27th, as well as November 3rd and 10th. Registration is required, and tickets are available for just $8.
In summary, Deepavali 2023 in Singapore offers a diverse range of events and activities that go beyond the traditional lighting ceremonies. It’s a time to embrace Indian culture, art, and cuisine while celebrating the victory of light, knowledge, and good over darkness and evil. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this extraordinary celebration.
If you are visiting Singapore from Malaysia, taking a bus ride would be your best budget-friendly option. Book bus tickets from KL to Singapore on redBus for more savings!
Travel with redBus Singapore
If you wish to extend your visit, you can also visit places like Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and other beautiful cities. The best part is Singapore and Malaysia have a great bus connectivity and you can find buses from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore to Genting Highlands, Singapore to Malacca and other routes easily.
You can choose from a host of bus operators such as Transtar Travel, StarMart Express , Supernice Grassland , KKKL Express , 707 inc and others.
So, what are you waiting for? Make the most of your time and live the true spirit of Deepavali 2023 in Singapore this season.
Happy Deepavali !