Deepavali decorations in Little India

Deepavali (meaning ‘rows of lamps’) is a Hindu festival celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Aipasi in the Tamil calendar (between October and November). The origins of the festival are linked to various myths, with most Hindus in Singapore believing that the festival commemorates the triumph of the Hindu god Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasura. Rituals associated with the festival include: the painting of homes and changing of upholstery; decorating living rooms with festive cards and coloured light bulbs; taking a ritual bath and anointing one’s head with oil; lighting a lamp for Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; presenting offerings of oil, fruit, betel nuts and sweet meats to the deities; seeking blessings from elders; exchanging gifts of food with friends and neighbours; and lighting tiny oil lamps at night.The Little India district is a core conservation area that covers Sungei Road, Jalan Besar, Rowell Road, Serangoon Road, Belilios Road, Kerbau Road, Chander Road, Rotan Road, Race Course Road and Buffalo Road. The Europeans first settled in the area during the 1840s, but the cattle trade carried out in the area soon attracted Indian workers to move there. By the 1880s, the area had become an Indian enclave with businesses subsequently set up to cater to the new clientele. Little India remains an important area for the Indian community with culturally important landmarks such as the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and the Tekka Market located there. It is also an area that is popular with tourists.