@Little India Singapore (nearest MRT: Little India station)
Deepavali is a major celebration for the Hindu community and it normally falls within October or November. This year it falls on 22nd October according to the Hindu calendar.
We had always thought that Deepavali was like a New Year celebration for Indians. Lol~ Apart from knowing that Deepavali was also known as the Festival of Lights and that there would be a street lightup along Little India, we knew nothing much about it. So we paid a visit to Little India and asked Hindu friends shopping there what Deepavali was all about.
We stopped by Tekka Centre first and the entire 2nd floor above the wet market and hawker centre was occupied by clothing stalls – we’re talking about 40 stalls mostly selling Indian traditional clothing (that’s real competition right there), and the random one or 2 selling Chinese clothing. It’s nearing Deepavali so we saw the typical shopping scene of women picking out some saris and the men standing around (waiting to pay :D).
We hopped over to Campbell Lane just across Tekka Centre. The road was closed for a street bazaar. You can find lots of stuff for the festival like items for prayer, decoration and Indian snacks. We managed to speak to Vikna and Janehi his mum (Hari Om Tailors at 56 Serangoon Road) selling decorative and prayer items, and provide tailoring services. They told us the story behind Deepavali where good triumphed over evil. Some friends we spoke to said they wake up as early as 3am on the festive day. They start off with prayers, rituals, bathing with coconut oil, and then cooking and visiting family and friends. Celebrations can continue on for a month! And something interesting we discovered, was that married couples also distribute envelopes with money to single family members! They call it “ang pow” here too, just like what the Chinese give out during Chinese New Year.
Indians are known to have really sweet taste buds. We got a taste of some the colourful traditional snacks from Ajmir Store and we spoke to the boss himself. It gets more crowded in the evenings as people start to stream in for festive shopping and to enjoy the street lightup. Be prepared to sweat it out in the crowd!
Soak in Singapore wishes all Hindu friends a very happy Deepavali! Our special thanks to Vikna and Janehi, and also to the friendly boss of Ajmir Store for his wonderful snacks!