Feasts, festive events, dazzling lights and historic temples. We're celebrating Deepavali in Singapore...
In case you haven’t noticed the lights along Serangoon Road, it’s Deepavali in Singapore! The Festival of Lights falls on the 15th day of Kartika, which is the holiest month in the Hindu calendar. This year, it’s celebrated on 4 November 2021. Despite some changes due to Covid-19, you can still expect gorgeous lights, beautiful rangoli decorations to bring good luck, mouth-watering Indian cuisine and virtual events. Little India is the epicentre of the celebrations, of course. Here’s how to get into the spirit of Deepavali and rediscover Indian culture…
Guide to Deepavali in Singapore: Things to do
1. Admire the gorgeous display of colourful lights
Every year, Little India turns it on for Deepavali with its eye-popping light-up. Just when you think the street lights can’t get any more dazzling, out come massive peacocks, lotus flowers and oil lamps beautifying Serangoon Road. You seriously can’t miss it – time to plan an evening stroll!
2. Indulge in a festive meal at top Indian restaurants
Fire up your tastebuds at curry houses or North and South Indian restaurants doling out everything from mountains of biryani to traditional plates to modern innovations. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is your chance to indulge! Check out our guide to iconic Indian sweets you can grab from Little India if you’re hooked. Alternatively, swirl a creative cocktail at an Indian-inspired bar.
3. Visit beautiful Hindu temples
The jewel of Little India’s crown is the awe-inspiring Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple on Serangoon Road. It’s dedicated to Kali, the Hindu Goddess of power, and you can spend all day taking in the intricate details. This temple was established in 1855, making it one of the oldest religious sites in Singapore.
When in Chinatown, stop by Singapore’s biggest and oldest temple, Sri Mariamman on South Bridge Road. It’s famous for breathtaking painted ceilings and hosting the Fire Walking Ceremony (Theemithi) happening on 24 October 2021. In the East? Head to Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple on Ceylon Road. With its five-tiered, 68 feet-high golden tower, it’s one of Katong’s gems. It’s over 120 years old and has a unique musical pillar that produces different notes when tapped!
4. Go on a walking tour of Little India
Little India is just as colourful during the daytime (and on any day of the year). Sure, everyone knows about Tekka Market and Banana Leaf Apolo, and it’s a rite of passage to get lost in Mustafa at least once in your lifetime. But if you want inside stories on the heritage ‘hood and tips on where to pick up masala dabba or copper kitchenware for a steal, our hot tip is to join a walking tour. You’ll discover everything from the best eyebrow threading spots to Tekka’s finest biryani stalls.
5. Trishaw rides, anyone?
The Indian Heritage Centre is offering 15-minute trishaw tours around vibrant Little India so you can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the ‘hood. It’s a fun ‘lil way to spend Deepavali! After that, our Little India guide will come in handy if you wish to continue exploring.
Trishaw Trails, every Friday until 30 Oct, book online
6. Feast on reimagined classics
Love North Indian cuisine? Chef Ashok Kumar Solanki serves up modern interpretations of traditional fare in three-course set menus (from $45) at W Singapore – Sentosa Cove. Expect to dine on handi rogan josh (lamb shank in spicy onion tomato sauce), naan, malai murgh tikka (cheesy chicken with Indian spices) and more to celebrate Deepavali in Singapore.
Eat Spice & Curry On, 1-14 Nov, 6pm-9.30pm, The Kitchen Table, W Singapore – Sentosa Cove
7. Enjoy the Indian Festival of Arts
This year’s Kalaa Utsavam features digital programmes, music performances, film screenings and live theatre productions. Festival highlights include Kaanalvariyum Kaarigei Nilaiyum – Madhavi’s story, an Indian literary masterpiece about passion and revenge, short films by local filmmakers, and Mighty Warrior Prince Bheema, a story for the little ones.
Kalaa Utsavam, 19-28 Nov, various timings, online and at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
8. The celebrations don’t stop here…
Want more? The Indian Heritage Centre is offering a slew of offline and online activities set to the theme of “Welcoming Light” to get you in a festive mood. Look out for culinary masterclasses, rangoli and kolam workshops, TikTok challenges, informative displays and loads more.
Deepavali events by the Indian Heritage Centre, until 14 Nov, online and at various locations
So go forth and celebrate Deepavali in Singapore. It’s gonna be lit!