The Beginner’s Guide To Celebrating Deepavali In Singapore

... and why you MUST visit Little India!
21 October 2020
(featured image:
(featured image:

Known for its colour and revelry, the Hindu festival of Deepavali makes Little India a must-visit right now.

Deepavali, or Diwali (as they often call it in India), is the Festival of Lights – where oil lamps dot Little India’s doorsteps and kids play outside with sparklers. It falls between October and November each year, on the night of a new moon, which is said to be the darkest night of the year (this year, 14 November).

Various legends give rise to Deepavali’s origins. One of the most popular: when Lord Krishna defeated the Demon King Narakaasur – making this holiday all about the victory of good over evil, or light over darkness. This is how people celebrate it in Singapore.

*COVID Update: Be sure to observe social responsibility as we celebrate the coming festivities. Mask on and practice social distancing so everyone has a safe and jolly good time!

Deepavali Dos & Don’ts

Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do if you’re invited to a friend’s home for the holiday:


  • Wear a traditional outfit. The more bling, the better! It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. Head to Level 2 of Tekka Centre (664 Buffalo Rd.) or Haniffa Textiles, opposite Tekka Centre, for a wide range of sarees and Indian suits. Want something with a little bling and glam? Shop at Jewel Palace (6 Buffalo Rd.).
  • Bring a small gift. Boxes of chocolate, tins of cakes and sweets and fruit hampers are a good way to start.
  • Try the dishes offered by your host. It’s impolite to refuse what is served. You can eat with your right hand, or use cutlery if you prefer.


  • Bring alcoholic beverages. Also, steer clear of food items with beef.
  • Wear skimpy clothes or anything black or white. These colours are commonly associated with funerals.


By Hazel Vincent De Paul + Sandhya Mahadevan, November 2018 / Updated October 2019 / Updated October 2020 by Willaine G. Tan. 

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