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Deepavali – November 12, 2023

Deepavali is celebrated on the 15th lunar day of the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar. The dates change in reference to the English calendar but usually fall between mid-October and mid-November. This year, it takes place on November 12. So, what’s the occasion? Deepavali marks the victory of good over evil. Although in Hindu mythology, there are several variations of the day’s origin, the celebration and rituals remain similar across the continent. In the weeks leading up to Deepavali, the streets of Little India are abuzz with people shopping in the bazaar, eating street delicacies from make-shift food carts, and enjoying Instagram-worthy light motifs on the streets.

History of Deepavali

Let’s start with the tale of ‘Ramayana,’ the most famous mythological epic in Hinduism. It is a story about one of the greatest kings of all time. Rama was the rightful king of Panchala, an ancient kingdom that predominantly covered the Indian subcontinent. But, due to family politics, he was exiled for 14 years from his home. He went to live in a forest, and his devoted wife and brother followed him.

A lot happened during these 14 years, including the abduction of Sita (Ram’s wife). A great war ensued to bring back the queen, who was abducted by the evil king Ravana. This war came to be known as the greatest war of all time and symbolized the fight between good and evil. Rama won the war.

By the time the war ended, 14 years of exile had also come to an end. They returned home on a new moon night. The citizens of Ayodhya (capital of Rama’s kingdom) light up their homes and streets to welcome the king home, hence sparking the beginning of Deepavali. Deepavali is the union of two words; ‘deep’ means ‘lamp’ and ‘vali’ means ‘array.’ Little India, in Singapore city, lights up during this Indian festive season, literally and figuratively. People from across the city visit the locale to celebrate or get a glimpse of the festivities.

Deepavali timeline

5114 B.C.
Rama is Born

On January 10, Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is born.

2300 B.C.
The Origin of Hinduism

Hinduism originates in the Indus Valley Civilization.

2000 B.C.
Idol Worship

Idol worship is common in Hinduism, which originates in the Indus Valley Civilization.

500 B.C.
The Epic is Written

The ‘Ramayana’ epic poem is written by Valmiki.

Deepavali FAQs

Why is it called Deepavali in Singapore?

Most of the Indians living in Singapore are from South India, where the term Deepavali is more prevalent than Diwali.

Who celebrates Deepavali in Singapore?

Deepavali is a Hindu festival. A total of 5% of the people living in Singapore are Hindus.

What do people eat on Deepavali in Singapore?

Indian cuisines are preferred during Deepavali. Sweets such as gulab jamun and kheer are crowd favorites.

Deepavali Activities

  1. Pray and give offerings

    Deepavali is an auspicious Hindu festival. Many rituals and collective prayers are performed on this day. Visit your nearest temple to offer your prayers.

  2. Wear new clothes and buy gifts

    On Deepavali, people wear new ethnic clothes and buy gifts (preferably gold and silver). The custom also includes visiting family and friends.

  3. Play cards for cash

    Many people play cards with their families, often betting small cash amounts for fun. Since Deepavali is a day symbolizing prosperity, winning cash today can be a good omen for the rest of the year.

5 Interesting Facts About Hinduism

  1. Let’s get to Chinatown

    Sri Mariamman Temple, the largest Hindu temple in Singapore, is located in Chinatown.

  2. Symbolism of the crowns in Hinduism

    The intricate designs on the crowns of Hindu temples depict deities and often represent folklore and mythology.

  3. Saree and mehendi

    Sarees are traditional Indian attire, while mehendi is a temporary henna tattoo applied on the palms and feet.

  4. Kolam or Rangoli

    Floral patterns with powdered colors are made at the entrance of the house, known as Rangolis, which are meant to bring good luck to homes.

  5. Happy Deepavali in Tamil

    In Tamil (the most common language spoken by Tamilians), one wishes Deepavali by saying “Valthukkal.”

Why We Love Deepavali

  1. Everything is lit up

    Obviously, it is the festival of light. The dazzling lights are a reason to step out and enjoy the view. People light her homes as a symbol of the light in their lives that defeats evil and darkness, just like the great war between Lord Rama and Ravana.

  2. It is drool-worthy

    Indian cuisines are at their best, with many corners serving seasonal specialties. Be careful with the spicy dishes; they can light your insides up (slight exaggeration, but it wouldn't hurt to keep the milk handy, though).

  3. It is all about family and fun

    It’s the perfect time to spend time with family and friends. Family and friends visit each other and enjoy going to the temple together. This festival brings people together.

Deepavali dates

YearDateDay
2022October 24Monday
2023November 12Sunday
2024October 31Thursday
2025October 20Monday
2026November 8Sunday

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