The aroma of Indian culture, tradition and festivals has surpassed the nation’s paraphernalia! And this time it’s Singapore!
History says that Hinduism crept into the mainland of Singapore due to the immigration of the Southern India, mainly the Tamils. This reshuffled the existing culture of the nation and a perfect blend of tradition, which had stints of Hinduism incorporated within it came into existence. Like the Indian subcontinent, Singapore soon got its multi secular status.
This region has some very identical Indian temples (nearly in the sense, they are built in the Dravidian style of architecture). One can clearly imagine the mass of immigration, with the large number of Hindu temples all around the place. The “gopurams”, paintings and murals give the feeling of being in India even in a far away land. Hinduism at Singapore is mainly limited within the culture of the Southern Dravidians or the Tamils.
Singapore gets more colorful and vibrant during the celebration times of Indian festivals: Deepavali, Thaipusam, Pongal and Navrathri. What makes the celebration more unique is the eagerness, happiness and interest with which these are celebrated at a place far away than the own country. Unless and until you get the experience of celebrating any of these festivals at Singapore, one can’t figure out the exceptionality of these celebrations at Singapore.
Deepavali: It isn’t just the “festival of lights” when you are at Singapore! Indian communities at Singapore light sacred lamps for a month. Oil lamps are lit and people seek the blessings of Goddess Laxmi for ushering bliss to the family in terms of health, wealth and prosperity. Festive shopping, colorful streets and new clothes clad people move around the market celebrating the festival.
Thaipusam: It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamils and Indians at Singapore. Blessings are sought from Lord Murugan. Devotees follow stringent procedures for pacifying their God, like piercing of face, tongue and body parts. In a general practice kavadis (semi circular wooden or metal arches) are pierced to the bodies of the devotees with spikes and hooks. The word “Thaipusam” is derived from two different words: “Thai”, the name of the month which is January/February in the English calendar and “pusam” meaning full moon. The festival is celebrated in the month January/February in a full moon day. People have a belief that any rituals performed during “Thaipusam” makes them cured from all sorts of diseases. Meditation, fast, prayer is done throughout the day.
Navrathri: It is one of the heavily celebrated rituals in India. At Singapore, the rituals and practices are same as that of the Indian culture and devotees worship Goddess Laxmi, Durga and Saraswati ardently for nine days. Prayers and fast are the important aspects of this festival. And the tenth day is celebrated with much pomp and show: it is the win of good over evil. Goddess is placed on a wooden chariot and paraded all around the temple for being victorious against the demon king Mahisasura.
This brief review of Indian festivals at Singapore is all about the global acclamation of the rich Indian custom in a foreign land!