Celebrate the Festival of Light!
As far as holidays go, Deepavali is up there as one of the most fun days here in Singapore and the rest of the world! Deepavali, or Diwali as it’s also called, is known as the Festival of Lights and is celebrated by Hindus as the day good conquered evil and when light overtook darkness. Now, that sounds like a celebration worth partying for and you’ll definitely see that here in Singapore, with families and friends visiting one another in homes decked out in lanterns and smelling of exotic Indian spices and sweets!
Ready yourself for Singapore to be awash with colour, lights and a lot of food come 10 November! We think Deepavali is an especially great opportunity to speak to your little ones about right versus wrong, values and all that good stuff as you join in on the festivities building up to the big day!
Now, we know the plethora of things to see and do can be overwhelming, so we thought we’d round up a few of our favourite spots for shopping, eating and everything in between to help get you and your family in a Deepavali frame of mind!
Prayers at temples are a important element of Deepavali, and the way most Hindus start the holy day. After praying to God and their ancestors, which is symbolised by a flame, an offering is made which is usually in the form of new clothes and sweet treats. Following this, Hindus have a symbolic oil bath in which they place a smidgen of coconut oil on their foreheads and ask for blessings from family elders. Homes are decorated with plenty of oil lamps and candles – it’s the Festival of Lights, after all! People then visit and catch up with close friends and family – sounds like a great way to spend the day!
Most of the beautiful temples in Singapore are open to the public and welcome non-Hindus, such as Singapore’s oldest temple Sri Mariamman Temple. You can also walk along Serangoon Road and pop into one of the many temples lining the famous street, such as Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, which is also officially a national monument!
Sri Mariamman Temple, 244 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058793, (+65) 6223 4064
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, 397 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218123, (+65) 6298 5771
Food and sweet treats
We all know food is already a huge part of local life, and Deepavali kicks it up a notch with enticing gastronomic delights on offer! No doubt, Little India is the best place to head for a full sensory immersion of spices, sweets, twinkling lights, and the general buzz of the markets surrounding Serangoon Road. There, you’ll find the best dosai (savoury crepes) at Komala Villas, vegetarian curries at Madras Woodlands (they cater too!) and a huge spread of rich Indian desserts at Ananda Bhavan. Be sure to try the nei urundai (balls of ghee and powdered sugar), sandesh (cottage cheese and cardamom fudge), jalebi (fried wheat flour soaked in rose water syrup) and halwa (cornflour pastries with dried fruit and nuts commonly mixed in) – yum!
If you venture out further, you’ll be in foodie heaven with slightly more expensive fare at spots such as Rang Mahal and Song of India. Be sure to also stop by Anjali’s Chocolates behind Dempsey to pick up a few boxes of Deepavali-themed goodness, which are also perfect for bringing as gifts if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s home to celebrate with them!
Komala Villas, 12 Buffalo Rd, Singapore 219785, (+65) 6293 3664
Madras Woodlands, 14 Upper Dickson Rd, Singapore 207474, (+65) 6297 1594
Anjali’s Chocolates, 73 Loewen Road, 01-15 & 16, Singapore 248843, (+65) 6509 6800
Rang Mahal, 7 Raffles Blvd, #03-00 Pan Pacific Singapore, Singapore 039594, (+65) 6333 1788
Song of India, 33 Scotts Road, Singapore 228226, 33 Scotts Road, Singapore 228226, (+65) 6836 005
Deepavali is considered the Indian New Year and and traditionally Hindus don new clothes for luck and prosperity. Lucky for us, Singapore is a shopping paradise! You can’t miss the Deepavali Festival Village which is an annual shopping bazaar which pops up in the middle of Little India for the month leading up to the holiday and where you can find pretty much anything, like sarees, fabric, lanterns and pastries.
Follow the road along to Tekka Centre where you’ll also find a huge assortment of stalls selling more of the same colourful ware, including clothes, shoes and home decor. Look no further than 24-hour Mustafa Centre for a midnight shop where you can find anything and everything under the sun (and moon, for that matter!)
Sarees, kurtas and shawlars are all female-appropriate attire for Deepavali gatherings so head over to Stylemart and Fab India for a gorgeous selection of both formal and casual wear. Haniffa Textiles is the place to go for colourful fabrics should you want to create your own bespoke ensemble!
Deepavali Festival Village, along Campbell Lane and Hastings Road in Little India
Tekka Centre, 665 Buffalo Rd, Singapore 210665
Stylemart, 151 Selegie Rd, Singapore 188315, (+65) 6338 2073
Haniffa Textiles, 118 Dunlop St., Singapore 209437, (+65) 6339 0926
Don’t forget that The Istana opens their doors to the public on certain public holidays throughout the year and Deepavali is one of them! Catch the inside view of the stunning presidential palace, but be sure to get there early as the queue can be pretty intimidating by the afternoon! It is open from 8am-6pm on 10 November where you’ll find fun entertainment booths and can join a 45-minute guided tour of the grounds. Did we mention it’s free?
The Istana, Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore, Orchard Road, Singapore 238823