Friday, November 1, 2013

Celebrate Deepavali/Diwali in Singapore

Deepavali or Diwali, also known as “festival of lights’. “Deep” meaning “light”, and “avali” meaning “row” (“Row of  Lights”). It is a festival to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, and victory of good over evil.
Deepavali is a gazetted holiday in Singapore, and it falls on the 2nd Novemeber this year. Deepavali an important and joyful event for Indian community in Singapore. The 353,000-strong Indian community makes up 9.2 per cent of the population, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics.
Stroll along the streets of Little India and Serangoon Rd to enjoy Deepavali street light up. The streets along Little India and Serangoon Rd are brightly lit for the ‘Festival of Lights’.Colourful decors based on myths of Indian’s culture are displayed.The dynamic and dazzling nightview of Little India during Deepavali festive period (27th Sept – 17 Nov 2013) excites your senses, and enrich your experience in all-things Indian.
During the festive season, Campbell Lane at Little Indian is being transformed into a festive bazaar. At the Campbell Lane bazaar, you can find around 50 stalls selling colourful festive items like jewellery, bangles, glittering Indian costumes, arts & crafts, decorations, spices, and traditional snacks, sweet treats and festive cookies. Deepavali decoration items such as ready-made wooden Kolamtorans (hangings), oil lamps, colourful flower garlands and vibrant fabric lanterns are sold in this bustling bazaar.
Try to get your hand henna-painted. Henna is a flowering plant used to dye skin, hair and fingernails. If you visit Campbell lane, choose from a range of interesting designs, have your hands temporary tattooed.
Things to shop for Deepavali
1) Sari
Haniffa textiles
Sari or saree is the traditional dress of women in India. It is a piece of unstitched cloth that is draped over the body in various styles.
Buying new clothes has always been a tradition in Indian festivals, especially Deepavali. Every Indian women want to look gorgeous in Sarees for Deepavali. Deepavali is a festival filled with colours and brightness, therefore the sarees chosen should be as bright as possible to celebrate the festival. Decorations like sequins, beads make these Deepavali sarees astonishing.
Haniffa textiles in Little India are crowded with shoppers choosing fabrics for their sarees to be worn during Deepavali. 
The shop assistant from Haniffa textiles said business was extremely good during the festive season. 
Sri Ghanesh Textiles at 100 Serangoon Road offers a wide variety of beautiful sarees from Japan, China, Indonesia and India. Try out some richly coloured Sarees at Sri Ghanesh Textiles to get a feel of the festive season.
2) Indian snacks, sweet treats and festive cookies
This heartwarming festive season is not complete without house visiting and sharing sweets and snacks with friends and family.
Savour Indian milk-based sweetmeats this Deepavali. Buy Indian sweet treats like gulab gamun (deep fried, Spongy  milky balls soaked in rose scented syrup), rava laddu (sweet ball prepared with rava/semolina, sugar, milk and nuts) and barfi ( sweet confectionery made with condensed milk and sugar). A wide array of sweets can be chosen from Komala Vila Sweets and Savouries located at 82 Serangoon Road.
Try Indian traditional snacks like Murukku (South Indian a spiral shape crunchy snack of made from rice and urad dal flour), acchu murukku (a sweet version ofmurukku), pineapple tarts and Sugi biscuits. 
3) Diya (Oil lamp/ little earthen lamp)
diya or an earthen lamp is symbolic to the festival of Deepavali. 
A wide variety of affordable and exquisite diyas have made their way into the market. 
Indians light Diyas (Diya is an oil lamp, usually made from clay), and place them around the home and doors’ entrance in the night. Indians believe the oil lamps represent one’s inner light, and lighting oil lamps bring about inner peace and ward off darkness.
Get a decorative and cute little earthen lamp this Deepavali, and keep it as a lasting memento.
4) Ready-made bejewelled kolams
Kolam means “beauty”, are floor drawings traditionally made with rice flour powder added with sindoor (vermilion), haldi (turmeric) and other natural colours.
The colourful Kolam designs are drawn on the floor of their living room or at the entrance way during Deepavali. Kolam design can be simple geometric patterns or in flowers and petal shapes.  There are also ready-made bejewelled kolams available in the Campbell Lane Deepavali Festival Village. Designs are beautifully hand crafted and painted on pieces of wood or plastic, and they can be arranged in different forms. 
Kolam is considered as an art piece that symbolize good luck.
5) Kandils (Indian fabric lanterns)
Lanterns are often used to decorate one’s home during Deepavali.
Indians decorate home by hanging beautiful fabric lanterns in their doorways. These lanterns are  made of colourful fabrics. Its help to brighten up the house and it creates a festive ambience as well.
Indians perceive that the more colourful the lanterns are, the more prosperous the home will be. 
You can buy colourful fabric lanterns in the Campbell Lane Deepavali Festival Village.
 6) Jewellery
Indians love gold, especially worn during wedding and traditional festivals. According to Singapore Infopedia, Indian Jewellers came to Singapore from the late 1940s. Indian jewellers or goldsmiths designed and hand-crafted pieces of gold jewellery that were sold in shophouses around Little India.
One of the famous Jellewery shop in Little India is the Abiraame Jeweller at 69 Serangoon Rd. Abiraame Jeweller is a household name and carries all type of gemstones, gold and diamonds.  It offers fashionable and traditional ethnic jewellery.
GMT Jewellers at 72 Serangoon Rd, and Meena Jewellers at 80 Serangoon Rd are a few of the well-known Jewellery shops in Little India which sell intricate jewellery.
Meena Jewellers is founded in 1968, and sell exquisite pieces from necklaces from Kolkata to semi-precious craft from Jaipur. It also offers temple jewellery that are worn during temple weddings.
Colourful bangles made of metal or plastic cost a few dollars. Indians choose bangles to match the colour of their sarees. MKM Costume Jewellery at 165 Dunlop Street sells gold plated bangles, glass bangles, wedding bangles as well as chokers, earrings, wedding sets and temple jewelry.