The triumph of light over darkness. That’s what the festival of Deepavali is all about. For Singaporeans who celebrate this Hindu festival, it is a busy time of year with lots of festivities but also lots of preparation. Here’s a step-by-step guide, with a few funny true-to-life quips, of what happens every year when Deepavali comes around.


15 Things to do BEFORE Deepavali daydiwali-divider

1) Research which Bollywood or Kollywood star you are going to channel this year

There’s so many beautiful saree fabrics and traditional designs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you go shopping! Pick your glamour before you go – what colour, what style. Having a rough idea in mind will help.

Shriya_Saran_(8124157828)CC 2.0 / Gordon Correll

2) Go shopping for your new saree/kurta

Usually turns into 3-4 shopping trips with the girls :)


3) Clean the house. Fight with Amma because she says it’s not clean enough, but you say it’s too early you’re going to have to clean again before the actual day what’s the point?! Admit defeat and clean the house.

4) Head to the Deepavali Bazaar.

Buy firecrackers, tea lights, decorative lights, lanterns and all sorts of colourful stuff.

Buy embroidered cushions that look nicer than Aunty Devi’s.

Ask your husband which curtain looks nicer. Realise he’s colour blind and pick the one you wanted anyway.

If you lose the kids, check the shops selling carpets — they are probably rolled up like a hotdog in one.

Where: Along Campbell Lane and Hastings Road, the annual Deepavali Festival Village bazaar has run for almost 20 years. THe iconic bazaar sells all sorts of festive goodies. It runs till 28 Oct. There is also the newer bazaar located opposite Mustafa Centre known as the Deepavali Fair. .

5) Make your threading appointment to tame that forest above your eyes

It’s the festival of light, not the festival of frights. Just kidding! But you know how well-shaped brows are all the rage and Indian girls know the power of threading well. Go get those perfect brows to frame your face. Book early, this is peak season.


6) Witness the 2016 Deepavali light up

On Sept 17, there’s a ceremony to begin the Deepavali Light Up that runs till Nov 12.Deepavali,_Little_India,_Singapore,_Oct_06

7) Deepavali Baking & Snacks

Start making the murukku. Remember last year that cousin started making murukku too, your specialty? How dare she!

So, start curling that murukku to a perfect crunch.

If you don’t have enough of Patti’s recipes, here are some recipes for Deepavali snacks. I can’t vouch that they’re any good, but you might find some inspiration!murukku CC by 2.0 / Sanath Kumar

8) Shop for lots of pretty jewellery

There’s no better time for the bling bling.

9) Get henna done

I love these! There’s lots of salons that do beautiful henna along Little India. Or you can make an appointment at Vanessa beauty salon.

henna-feetCC 2.0 / Nujee

9) Make sure the bar is stocked and poker cards are ready for all the uncles

Guinness, annai?

11) Collect your new saree.

Put it on for a test run. 3 hours later… Feel like you’re reborn as Aishwarya Rai. Gonna rock this!


12) Is it Deepavali yet? Can’t wait. I’ma go dancing with my makkal at clubs that play Indian Music. 

13) Get everything ready to make the best kolam the world’s ever seen

Here’s some tutorials.

kolamCC 2.0 / Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

14)  Make sure the oil lamps are safely positioned in every room in the house

The heart of the festival traditions is going around the house, lighting each oil lamp before the sun goes down. So the house stays in the light all day on Deepavali.

Woman arranging oil lamps on rangoli during Diwali

15) Clean the house again

It’s almost time!


15 Things to do on the day of DEEPAVALI


1) Wake up early. Put on your new clothes for the morning temple visit

2) Beautify yourself

Fight for the bathroom.

Ladies, give extra time for your battles:

Battle #1 Survive 10 safetypin pokes as you fight your saree. Remember to pack safety pins, essential for survival.



Battle #2: Put on your pottu/bindi. Remove and redo until it is sitting perfectly in the middle of your forehead – or until stickiness runs out.

Battle #3:  Win the eyeliner battle. Complete transformation into saree queen.

Men, put on the kurta, feel stylo milo, slick your hair, admire yourself in the mirror. Play Dota while you wait for everyone else to be ready

Lookin good, everyone!


Take a family selfie before you leave the house. Make a funny face in every photo until someone smacks you.

3) Visit the temple

Meet the community, fulfil the rituals, welcome the festival of lights. Deepavali Valthukkal!

4) Light the diya

Before the sun goes down, gather the family and the light the diya (oil lamps) around the house. Bring light into every corner of the house.


5) Time for the feast of Indian food

Later in the day, head to Tata’s place for a family feast

6) Eat lots of ladoo

7) Get red cheeks from every aunty pinching your cheeks and saying you look cute like a ladoo.


8) Stop eating ladoo

9) Everyone has arrived. Dinner time!

Congratulations on surviving all the questions when you’re getting married, when you’re reproducing, why you’ve put on weight… Let’s eat.

10) Enjoy the feast with your family

indian-foodCC 2.0 / albyantoniazzi

11) Dinner is over. Suck in your stomach and try to look natural for the rest of the evening

12) Go outside and play with sparklers with the kids

13) Gather round with your full bellies and watch a film by Superstar Rajnikanth or cry over Khabi Kushi Khabi Gham (again). rajini-kanth-2-o

14) Try 5 times to break up the elders letting loose so you can go home

It’s late. You’re tired. Either the uncles are having too much fun with their card game, or the tea lights seem to have rekindled the youth of the aunties AND uncles so they’re now doing the Bhangra.

So you’ve asked 5 times if we can go home. Get lucky the 6th time when Aunty Lakshmi starts snoring. It’s time to go.

15) Hug goodbye and thank your hosts. Wonder how you’re going to fit into your clothes for the second round of visiting tomorrow.


Deepavali Valthukkal!