Join in the merrymaking as the Hindus in Singapore celebrates 'Festival of Lights' with Henna art, performances, and plenty of shopping at Little India and beyond
Each year, Hindus celebrate Deepavali (November 10) – the ‘Festival of Lights’ that marks the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Streets are decked out with dazzling lights; bold, bright colours are found in every corner and the atmosphere is buzzing. It’s a huge festival across the world, and Singapore is no exception!
If you’re in town during the month of November, be sure to make your way to Little India to take part in the merrymaking. The vibrant ethnic enclave will be decorated with rows and rows of elaborately-designed arches, and thousands of stunning lights – so don’t forget your camera!
Not sure where to start? Begin your cultural adventure with some shopping at the many festive bazaars lining the streets of Little India. Hop from stall to stall and look forward to gold jewellery, sweet treats, Ayurvedic massage oils, beautiful flowers and garlands, oil lamps, traditional arts and crafts, gorgeous saris that come in a multitude of dazzling hues, and more. Another thing you’ve simply got to experience during this time is henna art. An ancient form of body art, henna are temporary tattoos created using the dye from the henna plant. Most beauty salons in the area (you’ll have no trouble finding one) offer henna at wallet-friendly prices – so take your pick, choose your favourite design, and let the artist do beautiful, intricate work on your hands.
For a big slice of arts and culture, head over to performing arts venue Esplanade for Kalaa Utsavam (November 20 to 29), an annual 10-day festival that celebrates Indian arts. Launched in 2002, this exciting fiesta highlights a stellar selection of contemporary and traditional performances by an impressive line-up of award-winning Indian artists from Singapore and beyond. You can also look forward to classical Indian music workshops, shadow puppet shows, and intriguing exhibitions during Kalaa Utsavam. Happy Deepavali!
This article was first published in Singapore Insider. Pick up a copy of the print guide at Singapore Visitor Centres island-wide, including Orchard (junction of Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road), orchardgateway, ION Orchard (Level 1 Concierge), and Chinatown Visitor Centre (2 Banda Street), or download the latest issue.