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All Lit Up

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A major cultural festival in Singapore, Deepavali is celebrated by Hindu households throughout the city, and across the world. Here are some ways you can be a part of the action

Every year around the month of October, the streets of Little India come alive. Stalls are set up and the entire area is flooded with colourful lights come sundown. These are signs that Deepavali is coming. This year, the festival falls on 12 November.

One of the biggest Hindu festivals, Deepavali (or Diwali as it is referred to among north Indians) is a celebration that marks the triumph of good over evil. Hindus observe the festival with prayers and feasting. There is no dearth of activities for those who want to join in the festivities.

Deepavali Light-Up
Every year, a light-up is organised in Little India by the Little India Shop Owners and Heritage Association[1], beginning with a brightly coloured archway in front of Tekka Centre. This year, the light-up was launched on September 30 in the open field on Birch Road. The Deepavali lights are switched on daily from 7pm until midnight. Each year, the light-up features a different theme. Previous years’ themes have included elephants and peacocks – the former is a symbol of loyalty and wisdom while the latter is feted for its grace and purity. This year, the centrepiece is Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. Lord Krishna is synonymous with Deepavali, which commemorates his slaying of the demon king Narakasura. The event includes new elements such as a Big Bus Tour, a fashion show and a food village. A tradition that started in 1988, the lights display will be on until December 3.

Food Bazaar
The best part about a celebration must be the food. For a taste of the mouthwatering specialities served during festival, don’t miss a visit to the Deepavali food bazaar. Open from until 11 Nov, 2pm-10pm, it brings together a diverse range of Indian cuisines with stalls peddling delectable sweet and savoury snacks.

Festival Village
Immerse in the celebrations by hopping on down to Campbell Lane where you’ll find stalls hawking traditional Indian outfits, snacks, handicraft and festive décorations. As you skip from stall to stall, stop and enjoy the live traditional music and enchanting dance performances. The village runs until 9 November, 10am to 10pm, as well as 10 and 11 November, 10am to 1am.

Open House
A mix of free and paid activities await at the Indian Heritage Centre, until 12 November. Go on a gallery tour that relates the story of Lord Krishna and Radha. Immerse yourself in pichwai, a traditional art form originating in Rajasthan and join a workshop that teaches participants how to create their very own pichwai-style art piece. There are also storytelling sessions for children and free craft activities.

Big Bus Tour
Hop onto one of the spectacular Big Bus Tours, which includes a detour through Little India during the Deepavali season for the opportunity to marvel at the beautifully adorned lights. Not only that, each participant will receive a $5 voucher from Gayathri restaurant. Date: 10 November; pickup points: Orchard Hotel Singapore and The Centrepoint