Happy Deepavali!Deepavali, also known as Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus worldwide. This year, Singapore's Deepavali public holiday falls on Saturday, November 14, and Monday, November 16 is a school holiday. The "Festival of Lights" is one of the Hindu religion's oldest and biggest festivals, commemorating the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. Deepavali comes from words meaning "row of lamps," referring to the diyas, or small clay oil lamps, traditionally set out in doorways and homes during the multi-day festival.
People in different parts of India and around the world celebrate Deepavali differently and commemorate different myths and legends. Many southern Indians celebrate Lord Krishna's defeat of a cruel demon, while northern Indians commemorate the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana from their forest exile. Many also believe the goddess Lakshmi will visit clean, well-lighted homes, bringing them wealth and good fortune. Followers of the Jain and Sikh faiths celebrate important events in their religions on the same day.
During Deepavali, homes are cleaned and lighted with traditional lamps or electric lights. Many families decorate their doorways with intricate colored-rice patterns called rangoli. Families dress in new clothes and gather to perform prayers, exchange gifts, and enjoy favorite dishes together. In some places, people set off firecrackers, although this is banned in Singapore. Little India is the place to go to see elaborate street decorations, eat Indian meals, and make purchases.
We wish everyone a very happy Deepavali! To learn more about this holiday and how it is celebrated in Singapore, please read on here.