This is the third and final part of my blog series on festivals in Singapore.
Indian festivals are my area of expertise, of course. The best part about festivals has to be the food. Not being a religious person myself, I often get bored during the customary rituals and prayers, but I just love seeing temples and streets all decked out, the numerous performances and the general liveliness during these times.
My favourite thing, though, has to be seeing non-Indians celebrating our festivals. The looks on their faces when they see the temples all gorgeously decorated, or watching traditional dance and music performances, and of course when they not only try, but whole-heartedly enjoy the food during this time makes my heart fill with irrational joy.
The biggest festival is Deepavali, also known as Diwali – the festival of lights. Little India is done up with lights adorning everything, from shop fronts to street lights, and we get to light firecrackers to our hearts’ content. This festival calls for major shopping, and street markets and bazaars are set up about a month prior to the actual festival. An entire street in Little India was recently converted into a permanent pedestrian street for these types of bazaars, and traffic is no longer allowed there. This is only one festival, of course, but each one is celebrated with the same grandeur and finesse. Since there are so many people from all parts if India living here, there are so many different ways in which even one festival is celebrated, and that is the true beauty of it. Temples are always decorated all year round, and the prayers, or “pujas”, are accompanied with a fanfare of instruments like drums and trumpets, even on regular days.
This cultural diversity is what keeps Singapore so alive and buzzing every single day of the year, and it is essential to visit places of worship and the local areas to get a true taste of what it really means to be Singaporean.
My name is Nikki and I currently study in Singapore. I come from Bangalore, India while my parents come from two different Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and I have lived in various cities like Delhi and Bombay. Other than my academics, I have been learning Bharatanatyam, which is a form of classical Indian dance, for the past 10 years now. I also love to read and am a volunteer at the Singapore National Library. I have a great attraction towards these projects due to my passion to help people, and I find that these make me a more compassionate person, as well as help me to see the reality of the world.