Date: 14 – 15 November 2020
Location: Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia
Deepavali also known as Diwali is an Indian Festival of Lights and usually celebrated during month Kartika (between mid October and mid November). As one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.
Diwali is a five-day festival, the height of which is celebrated on the third day coinciding with the darkest night of the lunar month. In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces with diyas (oil lamps) and rangolis. Hindus, in particular, have a ritual oil bath at dawn on each day of the festival. The festival is an annual homecoming and bonding period not only for families, but also for communities and associations, particularly those in urban areas, which will organise activities, events and gatherings.
Let see how this festival is celebrated in other countries in the Southeast Asia with hinduism influence.
This annual hindu celebration takes place at the Little India with bright colours, tantalising aromas and the light of a thousand oil lamps fill the streets during the Deepavali. As one of the major cultural festivals in Singapore, thousands of Hindu families in the city transform their homes into beacons of light, exchange gifts, share feasts and perform pooja (prayers) to deities such as Lakshmi, the goddess of fertility and prosperity.
To learn more about the Hindu community, follow the Silver Chariot procession, held twice in the lead-up to Deepavali. Devotees tow a silver chariot that houses an effigy of the goddess Sri Drowpathai Amman all the way from the Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown—the oldest of its kind in Singapore—to Little India.
Deepavali festival is a major holiday in parts of Malaysia, mostly among Hindus, and it is a time when Hindus invite those of other religions into their homes to see how they celebrate what, to them, is the most important day on the calendar. Deepavali is a day for people of all races and religions getting together with lively open houses, fireworks displays, and a wide range of Indian delicacies.
About a week prior to the celebration, Hindus conduct a massive spring-cleaning of their homes while lit oil lamps are placed around different areas of the house, especially on the porch and balcony. Meanwhile, Hindu temples all over Malaysia are lavishly decorated with flowers while offerings of fruit and coconut milk are placed at altars by devotees.
In Indonesia, the majority of the population are Muslims, however, there are 2% Hindus in Indonesia, who are celebrating the event of Diwali. Especially Bali is famous for its festival of Diwali, since the majority of the population are Hindu here.
Diwali in Indonesia is not a big festival, but Balinese Hindus turn the island into a celebration that nearly mirrors that of India. The local Hindus indulge all the traditional customs and rituals such as calf-worship, fragrant oil baths, Lakshmi Puja and Gowardhan Puja. Homes are thoroughly cleaned and decked up with oil lamps and colorful kolams.