The Beginner’s Guide To Celebrating Deepavali In Singapore

... and why you MUST visit Little India!
09 October 2019


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, October 27). 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.

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 more trendy or 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 

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