More than just delicious traditional treats and visiting, Deepavali is a celebration of good over evil and new beginnings. Known by many other names like Diwali or Festival of Lights, Hindus all over the world celebrate this occasion over 5 days with colorful decorations, gatherings and the lighting of oil lamps. This year, Deepavali falls on Sunday, 27 October and if you reside in Singapore, this means Monday, 28 October is a public holiday!
To prepare for this special day, Hindus decorate their home in bright colors, whip up feasts, visit homes of their elders and play catch-up with relatives. It is also on this day that intricate patterns known as “Kolam” are drawn in front of their home using colored rice flour.
While there are many stories surrounding the origin of Deepavali, they revolve around the common theme of good over evil. In the most famous story, Deepavali honors Rama-Chandra (the incarnation of god Vishnu) who won a battle against demons and the demon king, Ravana. To welcome Rama-Chandra back home, his people lit oil lamps to symbolize good over evil, and light over darkness.
This tradition of lighting oil lamps is still very much observed on this day. On the first day, a typical Deepavali celebration would start early with morning prayers, a visit to the temple for blessings followed by visiting family and friends – similar to Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. When night falls, each family members lights a traditional clay lamp (Diya) and places it by the window or at the altar.
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