You can still enjoy the Festival of Lights without venturing (too far) outside

Deepavali, also known as Diwali, falls on Saturday Nov 14 this year. While many of us lament that there’s no long weekend, it's an important day for Hindus and the Indian community to mark the triumph of light over darkness, and good over evil. It’s also a day to receive blessings and spend time with loved ones amid beautiful lights, colourful rangoli decorations and delicious Indian food.

But celebrating festivals and holidays like this has been very different this year. Everything revolves around social distancing, which means fewer gatherings, limited visits to places of worship, and no mega bazaars. Many festivities and programmes have gone online, and while they may feel different, the spirit of the occasion remains bright.

Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the Festival of Lights in a socially distanced Singapore.

See the your car
Avoid the crowds by taking a leisurely drive around the area instead. This year’s Deepavali light-up in Little India is as vibrant as ever, with peacocks, elephants, lotus flowers and oil lamps decorating the streets. Don’t miss Goddess Mahalakshmi, the goddess of wealth in Hindu mythology, at the main arch on Serangoon Road.

Watch the countdown on TV
Ring in the Festival of Lights with the annual Amarkala Deepavali Countdown Concert on Vasantham. Groove along with your favourite personalities to performances by popular local artistes and young talents on the Mediacorp channel. Thithikkum Amarkala Deepavali 2020 is on 13 Nov, 10pm.

Collect limited edition money packets
Make a quick trip to the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) and collect your complementary limited edition money packets featuring the peacock design from the Deepavali street light-up this year. You’ll need to take a photo, upload it onto social media and tag #IHCDeepavali to redeem. Last day of collection is Nov 14, while stocks last, so do it soon!

 The peacock design of the money packets. Credit: Indian Heritage Centre

View special performances online
Catch the Mega Deepavali Online Show on Little India Shopkeepers & Heritage Association (LiSHA)’s Facebook page. Look forward to the premiere of the new Deepavali Community Song created for the occasion, along with a specially commissioned video about Little India. The show hits the airwaves on Nov 14, 10am to 12pm.

Visit the Istana virtually
Head to President Halimah Yacob’s Facebook page on Nov 14 from 4pm. President Halimah will be hosting a virtual Istana Open House (IOH) and will engage visitors via Facebook Live on questions relating to the Istana. Visitors to the virtual Deepavali IOH can look forward to a virtual “live” guided tour of the Istana Main Building, enjoy an online festive dance performance by students from Admiralty Primary School and a song performance by local performing group, Team Fusion. There are also virtual presentations of animals by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.