Deepavali (also: Depawali, Dipavali, Dewali, Diwali, Divali, Dipotsavi, Dipapratipad ) marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Deepavali, literally means “row of lights,” is celebrated by Hindus around the world and is the most important festival in Hinduism. It celebrates the victory of Goodness over Evil and Light over Darkness – it ushers in the new year.
In Singapore, this festival is endearingly called the Festival of Lights falls on 13 November 2012 and is a public holiday. New clothes are worn during Deepavali and sweets and snacks are shared. Some Indian communities also begin the financial year on Deepavali for auspicious reasons. A traditional way to celebrate Deepavali in Singapore is to have your hands painted with henna art. Henna is a flowering plant used to dye skin, hair, fingernails and even leather and wool. These temporary tattoos are often done for free by local artists.
During Deepavali, the streets of Little India are artfully decorated and lit up in bright brilliant colours, transforming it with colourful arches and lights. Festive bazaars and cultural activities such as the Indian Heritage and Craft Exhibition, Street Parade, Countdown Concert are also held. The festive stalls are decorated with wares such as fragrant flowers, garlands used during prayers, traditional oil lamps and beautiful Saris with intricate brocade patterns and glittering gems. Colourful Indian outfits, intricate costume jewellery and traditional arts and craft are also on sale. Deepavali hampers and gifts are exchanged during this period too.