Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights, was Tuesday. Deepavali signifies good over evil, inner light, knowledge as illumination and the oneness of all things. The holiday itself marks the culmination of a weeks-long celebration with lights, lanterns, sweets, fireworks and flower garlands. The celebration is an explosion of color — most notably in Little India here in Singapore.

I set aside a couple hours on Tuesday to walk around Little India and take in the myriad scenes playing out all over the neighborhood. Hundreds of men were gathered on the streets and in the park, talking, lounging and eating together. Flower garlands, fastidiously hand-strung and tied by male vendors, were hung from shophouses. Lights were strewn over Serangoon Road, awaiting illumination at dusk. But I couldn’t help but wonder… where were all the women in their exquisite saris and jewels? The most beautiful part of the celebration was missing. I’ll have to delve deeper next year.


  1. Little India is always lively not only on Diwali. The group of men gathered on the streets and in the park are usually the foreign construction workers. Since they are away from home, I guess such gathering helps to reduce the home sickness especially during their festive season.


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