Issue 112


Grassroots with passion

What’s the difference between Deepavali and Diwali?

“Deepavali” is howthe festival is referred tobySouth Indians and “Diwali” is howNorth Indians refer to it. As previously mentioned, there are regional differences when it comes to Deepavali or Diwali festivities, but the overarching theme remains the same – light winning out over darkness.

Why does the date of Deepavali change every year?

Deepavali celebrations take place over five days, beginning onDhanteras, the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha, which falls during the month of Ashwin on the Hindu calendar (typically corresponding with the Gregorian calendar months of September and October). Festivities continue into the month of Kartika. As the main day of Deepavali corresponds with the newmoon during Kartika, the date of the festival will change from year to year.

How is Deepavali celebrated by Singaporeans at home?

Visits to the homes of family members and friends are commonplace, where card games and the exchange of gifts take place. Festive meals are enjoyed, which are well-earned after the spring cleaning that is also associated with Deepavali.

How should I wish my friends who are celebrating?

“Happy Deepavali” is a perfectly fine greeting, but you can also go with “Shubh Deepavali”, which is wishing your friends an auspicious Deepavali.

Where can I go to soak up the atmosphere of Deepavali?

Little India is, of course, the place to be come this time of year. While themain thoroughfare of Serangoon Road will be illuminated by more than a million lights, the festive spirit can be found in every nook and cranny of this neighbourhood. Be sure to pay a visit to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and take the opportunity to stop by the Indian Heritage Centre on Campbell Lane, where five permanent galleries explore the history and contributions of the Indian and South Asian communities in the region.

What are some of the highlights of Deepavali in Singapore?

The light-up ceremony is the first highlight on the calendar, taking place about a month before Deepavali itself. Do also keep a lookout for live performances and other activities taking place in the area. In 2018, the line-up included storytelling sessions, dance performances, culinary workshops and the opportunity to play folk games such as pachisi. The Silver Chariot procession, which takes place twice prior to Deepavali, is also a must-see. During the procession, a chariot carrying an image of the deity Sri Drowpathai Amman is towed from Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown to Little India. This trip between enclaves is a great emblemof Singapore’s cultural diversity, as is the fact that Little India’s famed Tekka Centre has a Hokkien name which translates as “the foot of the bamboo”.

What can I buy at the Deepavali Festival Village?

Spanning Campbell Lane and Hastings Road, the bazaar at the Deepavali Festival Village becomes the epicentre of activity in Little India for more than a month around Deepavali. You can look forward to browsing wares that include oil lamps, saris and kurtas, traditional snacks, jewellery, home décor and much more. Henna artists will also be working their magic at stalls in this space.

Where else is Deepavali celebrated?

Deepavali is celebrated around the world by the South Asian diaspora, but there are several countries where it is a major holiday. In addition to India and Singapore, Fiji, Guyana, Kenya (for Hindus), Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago also observe the occasion.

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