Deepavali or Diwali as Celebrated in Singapore

A festival of lights celebrated by by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, and Newar Buddhists, Deepavali is marked literally by an abundance of lights.

The Editor | Sept. 12, 2021 | 334 reads
Deepavali or Diwali as Celebrated in Singapore
Credit: Udayaditya Barua via Unsplash

Date: Varies, according to the Hindu Calendar

A festival of lights celebrated by by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, and Newar Buddhists, Deepavali is marked literally by an abundance of lights.

You will find Little India lit up like the fourth of July during Deepavali.

But what exactly is Deepavali celebrating? Is it a religious or cultural festival?

It seems to be a celebration of both.

Deepavali usually last five days, and celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. This year, it will be celebrated on 4 November (Thursday). It is one of the most popular Hindu festival which celebrates the victory of light over darkness, or rather the victory of good over evil.

Etymology

Diwali or Divali comes from the Sanskrit dīpāvali which means "row of lights". From the Sanskrit words dīpa which means "illuminates” and āvali, "a row", or "continuous".

Deepavali is said to conclude the summer harvest.

Deepavali or Diwali was document by travellers outside India as far back as the 11th century. Persian traveller and historian Al Biruni already wrote about Diwali, so did Noccolo de Conti, th eVenetial merchant, Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveller, and several Islamic historians.

How is it celebrated?

How is it celebrated?
Credit: Rangoli, Wikimedia

It is normally celebrated in Singapore by a vivid display of lights, rangoli.

Rangoli, an art form from the Indian subcontinent which are basically intricate patterns created on the floor or tabletops (mostly floor, never seen one on a tabletop) using powdered lime stone, dry rice flour, coloured sand, and the like. You will see these in most malls during Deepavali, or Indian restaurants.

Before COVID, there would be a night market that sells a variety of Indian trinkets at Little India for great bargains.
Indian treats are also shared. Well not just Indian treats, but it’s the perfect time to try North and South Indian cuisines. Try their traditional briyani dishes or iconic Indian sweets.

Most institutions honour this by allowing the wearing of traditional garb.

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