The colourful celebration of Deepavali is one of the most significant festivals for Hindu communities around the world. The Hindu faithful form a significant proportion of the residents of Singapore and are concentrated in the neighbourhood of Little India. Deepavali or the Festival of Lights as the occasion is also known occurs in the latter part of the year and is much looked forward to.
The festival celebrates good overcoming evil and the victory of light over darkness. There are many legends associated with this occasion. The story goes that there was once a tyrannical ruler called Narakasura who oppressed his subjects. The people appealed to Lord Krishna for help and the deity duly vanquished and killed the tyrant. To welcome the victorious Lord Krishna on that pitch black night the townspeople lit a multitude of oil lamps, and even today the Hindu faithful mark this victory by lighting the festive lights during Deepavali.
On the festival days Hindus attire themselves in new garments, and snacks and sweetmeats are distributed. Certain Hindu communities commence the fiscal year on the day of Deepavali as this is considered to be auspicious. In Singapore just as in Indian societies in many nations around the world women take the opportunity to decorate their hands with henna designs. Many henna artists provide their services free of charge at this time.
At the time of Deepavali the avenues of Little India are vibrantly decorated and adorned with colourful embellishments. Exuberantly vivid lights and arches are set up and there is a discernible festive ambience in the air. Many attractive bazaars are set up and an array of special cultural events are organized, such as street parades, craft exhibitions and musical concerts. Everywhere you will see prayer garlands, fragrant blooms, the ubiquitous oil lamps and elaborate attire, particularly saris.
To experience the festive spirit all you need to do is to order a delicious milk tea at one of the roadside cafes and watch the celebratory activities of the locals.
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Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+