Diwali Tradition – by French Association of Singapore

By: Fayrouz Yataghane.

Deepavali illuminates us from September 29th to
November 6th


Deepavali also named Divali or Diwali is one of the most
important cele-bration for the Hindu community. It is
celebrated for three consecutive days with the main day
being on November 6th this year. In Singapore preparations
have started end of September in Little India but not only
there…
Deepavali is celebrating the successful fight of Rama,
considered in Hinduism an avatar of Vishnu God, against
Ravana, the demon king. Deepavali refers to the light of
the “dip”, a traditional oil lamp, that people who were
living in Ayodhya town would have placed “in rows”
for welcoming Rama’s return. That is the reason why,
according to the tradition, Indian families illuminate their
houses and streets for Deepavali.

Deepavali all over the world

Deepavali is celebrated by many generations in India and
by Hindu peo-ple all over the world, as confirms Snehal
Thaker, president of the Hindu Council of Australia – HCA.
This organization, which was established in 1998, aims to
unite the Hindu community in Australia and to promote
its culture and tradition. “The HCA has organized the
Deepavali Festival in Australia each year for the last twenty
years. In 2017, over 6000 people from different ethnic
background and ages gathered to attend the celebration.
A success due to the joined efforts of the Hindu
representatives of eight countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan,
Fiji, Bangladesh, Tibet, Indonesia and of course, Australia.”
“This year again, the HCA will organise the Festival. Due
to the large success of the Festival in the past, this year it
will take place at the Adelaide Show Grounds, to respond
to the at-tendees’ expectations in terms of space and
comfort. All is planned to welcome them, and to protect
them against the rain!” says Snehal Thak-er.

Deepavali through the generations

 

Shaheen Sivji

Shaheen Shivji is an Indian woman. She has a fifteenmonth-
old daughter and she is currently working part time
at the French Alliance of Singa-pore. She studied French at
University, back in India, and she continues to learn French
here in Singapore, where she moved to, with her husband
two years ago.
Shaheen doesn’t celebrate Deepavali for religious reasons
because she is not Hindu but Muslim. However, she
explains that this celebration is gathering Indians from all
religions. “Above the myth and the religion, Deepavali
symbolizes the Light. Lights from many different sources
and colour are flashing happily in our streets during the
Festival. For children, this period is really very exciting and
synonym of holidays and sweets! During those three days,
we prepare both savoury and sweet food to of-fer them to
our guests, family and friends. After the prayers, we launch
the fireworks, and everybody can try to make Rangoli, a
drawing de-signed with coloured powders. The women
are wearing a special Sari, particularly well decorated,
and for the men, trousers with a tunic, that depending of
its style, providing some information about the social position
of the person.”
During this period, respect and goodwill are the values
that are highlight-ed: “This moment is a large gathering for
all people, not only family”, says Shaheen.

Sujatha Sundaram is Indian and Hindu. She has been living
in Singapore since 2010. She was born in South India and
lived in North India.

Sujatha Sundram

Sujatha celebrates Deepavali each year as she was doing
back in India. According to her, it is the most important
Festival for Hindus: “We cele-brate it in every place in India,
each region in its own way: in the South, we celebrate it
in the morning, in the North, it is usually in the evening. But
there are also common points: we decorate the house, we
buy new clothes and gold jewellery. We draw Rangoli on
the floor at the entrance of our house, we make cakes for
friends and family, who are invited or visited. And in the
evening, we switch on the lights around the house and
fireworks are launched everywhere! In the past, in India,
we were a big family, living very close to each other. Now
that we are a bit more dis-persed, that event is more social
than religious. The children are still waiting for Deepavali
with great anticipation. They appreciate the conviv-iality
and the festive ambiance and of course the gifts!”

Deepavali through the flavours

Manjunath Mural

La Gazette pushed the doors of the Michelin Star Restaurant
“The Song of In-dia” to meet its famous chef, Manjunath
Mural. He offers to share the Deepavali delights through a
special menu, as a trip across India…

What do you propose for Deepavali celebration?

I’ve prepared a 4-course set menu specially for the
occasion. As per our mis-sion “Journey Through India”, the
menu highlights the specialities of each region all over India –
from North, South, East to West. Of course, no cel-ebration
is complete without enjoying the traditional Indian Mithai
sweets which are a symbol of goodwill and friendship.
Where does the celebration of Deepavali come from?
The origin of the Deepavali festival most likely started out as
a fusion of har-vest festivals across ancient India.

How does the Indian/Hindu community usually celebrate
Deepavali?

Deepavali, or Diwali symbolises light triumphing over
darkness. We Indians of-ten celebrate by decorating our
homes and offices with bright lights and can-dles and
setting off fireworks displays. Of course, we also have our
Mithai sweets that we will give to our friends and family.

What do you aim to share with people through your
cooking?

My philosophy has always been to present a Journey
Through India, that is why the food served at The Song of
India is inspired by traditional recipes from North, South,
East and West India.

Could you tell us about your personal experience as a
chef? And the way that has lead you to the cooking?

During my training in India, I had the chance to meet and
learn from these two chefs both women were originally
from Thailand. While observing them, I was so impressed
with their passion for food and the respect they earned
from the guests and team. It made me realise that this
profession is full of respect and passion and it was at

that moment that I decided to become a chef. My guests are
my motivation. I’m always inspired to create new exciting
dishes that will keep them coming back for more.
Restaurant: The Song of India: 33 Scotts Road 228226
www.thesongofindia.com
Special Deepavali menu available from 3rd to 10th of
November 2018

Deepavali in Singapore

Deepavali Festival in Singapore will mainly take place
in Little India from September 29th to November 6th with
many highlights that should not be missed!
Find more information on the website https://www.littleindia.
com.sg, in-viting you to live the Deepavali experience.
“Head to Little India where the streets are transformed
into a fantasyland of colourful arches and stunning lights.
Wander through the bazaars with their glittering gold and
gems, exquisitely embroidered saris and gleam-ing golden
oil lamps. Inhale the scent of marigolds, roses and jasmine,
thickly braided into lush floral garlands mingling with the
perfume of sweet incense and the fragrance of Indian
spices and Ayurvedic mas-sage oils …”
Let’s just admit it: we are tempted!

Fayrouz Yataghane