Celebrating Deepavali Our Way!

Five individuals share what Deepavali means to them, and how they plan to commemorate it in 2023.

By Sean Yee        7 November 2023

Time flies! Already, we are in 2023’s penultimate month, which means that the Deepavali festivities beckon! Beyond its revelry, however, is a beautiful symbolism of the triumph of good over evil, light over dark, courage over fear. Homes are illuminated with brilliant lights, vibrant flowers and abundant feasts made with love are served. 

How will you be celebrating Deepavali? Five revellers share their festive plans with us, each with a unique take. May your own Deepavali bring you good health, peace and happiness!

Kavitha (far right) and her dance troupe at her Deepavali office party

The Festival of Lights is truly a fitting epithet for the festival.

We’ll typically decorate our home with small oil lamps before making a trip down to the local temple for well-wishes and customary rituals. 

And what is Deepavali if we do not share these auspicious blessings? Our kitchen would be abuzz with a flurry of activity, as our family would then come together to hand-make our Deepavali sweets and treats. And in true Deepavali fashion, we’ll share it with our neighbours. 

I didn’t forget my colleagues! Every year, my office would host a spectacular Deepavali celebration featuring a feast of authentic Indian snacks and spirited dance routines accompanied by popular Indian songs. This year will be no different, and I’m just so excited to share my Deepavali sweets while performing for my colleagues once more!

– Kavitha Raj, Engineer

Ganash (far right) celebrating the occasion with his family

Deepavali to me, is really a time to unwind, relax and reflect on the year’s many ups and downs. While our celebrations may not be the most exhilarating, it is wonderfully therapeutic to simply hang out with people I love.

That was also pretty much how I celebrated the occasion during my NS days. Those who have served know that camps need to be guarded regardless of the circumstances. My unit had two teams of security troopers (including myself) who would rotate after one another every seven working days. Sadly, Deepavali that year happened to fall on the week I was scheduled for duty. It wasn’t all that bad actually – My team joked around during our breaks, ate our meals together and shared stories about our hopes and dreams for the future. 

This year is likely to be no different! I’m just excited to have this much needed break from the constant hustle and bustle. 

– CPL (NS) N.Tharshana Ganash, Research Assistant 

(L-R) Joanne Wu with her family, Prashanti Mohanan (far right)

Celebrating Deepavali in Malaysia is an amazing eye-opener, for not just me but my kids as well.

My grandparents and relatives are based in Malaysia. So, every year, we’ll make the trip up on the eve of Deepavali, so that we can begin beautifying their front porch with a customary Rangoli.

For those who aren’t aware, the Rangoli is an elaborately colourful pattern drawn onto a floor or a tabletop with coloured rice and flower petals . Otherwise known as “an array of colours”, this beautiful artistry is meant to invite prosperity into the home while driving evil spirits away. And to mark the beginning of Deepavali, fireworks would light up the night skies once the hour hand reaches twelve! 

To eradicate anything inauspicious, we would take an oil bath. While it isn’t my favourite tradition of the festival, it is delightfully unique! Either way, it is just great to have the opportunity for all of us to come together, unburdened by our busy schedules, to relax and enjoy one another’s company.

– Joanne Wu, Homemaker 

I have so many fond memories just spending the day with my mum and sisters binge-watching Deepavali specials on TV. Oh, and the food – it really is the highlight of the year! Imagine an entire spread of sweet, salty, and savoury goodies and treats on the table accompanied with rich and sinfully mouth-watering classics like my mum’s signature Briyani Chicken Curry. Great company and great food equate to an amazing day. 

This year, we’ll even invite some friends to join us for the ride! The festivities have just gotten more exciting!  

– Prashanti Mohanan, Audience Engagement Lead

Pepy (4th from left) joins his colleagues to share the Deepavali spirit

Once we saw the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, we were relieved that our annual office Deepavali celebrations can continue!

While every family has their own distinct style and preference on how they celebrate the occasion, celebrating it in the office greatly multiplies the joy and fun! Not to mention that everyone can join in as well! 

The party begins with a bang, as our wonderful colleagues will flock to the stage to perform an enthusiastic dance routine. Of course, the performance would end with a roaring standing ovation! 

Last year, we even had a professional chaat station helmed by a master chef! For those who have not tried it, chaat is an Indian street food delicacy that often comes in the form of a fried pastry filled with aromatics and spices. I can still remember the first bite I took out of my papdi and poori chaats – truly chef kisses! Best of all, we got to bring back memories of the celebrations at the photo booth, where even our non-Indian colleagues could don traditional Indian wear! This year will see more dance routines, more food and more joy.

I cannot overstate how excited I am about our office’s celebration this year!

– Pepy Manoj Louis, Project Management

Want more articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Download the new SAFRA mobile app and opt in for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!