8 ways to celebrate Deepavali, the Festival of Lights

With a canopy of lights and decorations brightening up the streets of Little India, Deepavali is just around the corner once again.

Regular patrons to the area might have noticed the annual Deepavali Festival Village located along Campbell Lane and Hastings Road - a bustling bazaar that offers just about everything one would need or desire during the festive period.

Housed within the bazaar is a heritage and craft exhibition where visitors can learn or rediscover age-old arts and culture.

Besides the Deepavali bazaar in Little India, some restaurants and retailers in other parts of Singapore are also offering festive specials.

Life!Weekend rounds up eight ways you can eat, shop and be entertained during the Festival of Lights.

1) Dress your house for the festivities

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At handicraft and home furnishing stall Celebration of Arts, shoppers will be overwhelmed by the wide array of colourful items. 

Sourced from various regions in India such as Odisha, Jaipur, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, the more than 40 items reflect the wide variety and diversity that is India.

The stall stocks furniture, decorative items, bags, little trinkets and even India Barbie dolls.

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A silver-plated statue of Hindu deities, Radha and Krishna on sale at the stall is sure to make passers-by stop in their tracks. The $6,800 statue stuns with its intricate details as it stands out amid the other items.

Where: Located along Campbell Lane, Deepavali Festival VillageWhen: Open till Oct 21, 10am to 11pm

2) Have a green parakeet tell your fortune

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Ten years ago, parrot astrologers might have been a hit with tourists and locals alike at Little India, yet they have all but vanished nowadays. 

At the Deepavali Heritage and Craft Exhibition this year, a parrot astrologer and his green parakeet have been flown in from the Tamil Nadu state in southern India.

Find out what your fortune holds for free and at the same time, be captivated by the little bird as it hastily emerges from its cage and selects a fortune card from the deck.

Where: Located along Hastings Road, Deepavali Festival VillageWhen: Open till Oct 19, 11am to 8pm

3) Take a selfie with Goddess Mahalakshmi

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Visitors to the bazaar in Little India can top off their experience by snapping a selfie with a 2m-tall statue of Mahalakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. 

The goddess might just help you get a lucky strike if you participate in two contests - a scratch and win, and social media competition - that will run till Oct 21. There are 50,000 prizes up for grabs, including gold coins and jewel boxes.

Where: Located at the entrance of Hastings Road, Deepavali Festival VillageWhen: On show till Oct 21, 11am to 10pmpmInfo: Visit www.littleindia.com.sg/Diwali_in_Singapore.aspx

4) Sample the South Indian takopachi

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You may be familiar with the Japanese street snack takopachi (octopus balls). Now try its look-alike, kuzhi paniyaram.

The ball-shaped snacks, made from a batter of black lentils and rice, are beloved on the streets and in homes in southern India.

The dish is one among other South Indian dishes visitors can try at the Traditional and Creative Indian Cuisine booth at the Deepavali Festival Village.

Indian chefs from Chennai are on-site to demonstrate how the dishes are made, including fusion combos such as the kozhi varutha fusilli (fusilli with stir fried chicken in mixed masala).

For a cool respite from the heat, visitors can try Jigirthandha, a popular summer beverage unique to South India that comprises almond gum, rose syrup and ice cream.

Where: Located along Hastings Road, Deepavali Festival VillageWhen: Open till Oct 19, 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm

5) Indulge in an Indian dinner banquet

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North Indian restaurant Shahi Maharani is cooking up a lavish dinner spread featuring dishes from the various regions in India. 

For its Cuisines of India themed dinner, there will be live stations serving snacks such as pani puri (crunchy hollow shells filled with potatoes and lentils and topped off with spice water and sauces) that are inspired by Mumbai street food, kebabs from Delhi and Lucknow, and a variety of curries from other regions including Kashmir, Kerala and Rajasthan. Top off the meal with homemade sweets including burfi (soft milk-based fudge) and gulab jamun (deep-fried milk ball in sweet syrup).

Diners will be serenaded by live musicians who will perform ghazals (a centuries-old form of poem and song) and Bollywood tunes. The restaurant will also be selling sweet and savoury gift sets.

Where: 03-21B Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road When: Oct 22, 6.30 to 10.30pm Cost: $68++ (adult), $48++ (child) Info: Call 6235-8840

6) Treat yourself to some sweets

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Modern Indian restaurant and bar D’Bell has concocted healthy treats that will not leave you wishing you had not grabbed that umpteenth piece of Indian dessert. 

There are two types of Indian sweets available for the gift boxes – laddus (ball-shaped doughy sweet) and katlis (thinly sliced soft fudge).

Each comes in three unusual flavours using nuts and fruits, such as mixed fruits laddu or rose petals and nuts katli. Special Deepavali lunch and dinner menus will also be available from Monday to Oct 24.

Where: 43 North Canal Road When: Available for order till Oct 24 Cost: A small box of 12 pieces costs $29 and a large box of 20 pieces costs $55 Info: Call 6536-4046 to place orders or enjoy the sweets in-house with the Deepavali special dinner menu.

7) Dress to impress

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Home-grown Indian designer boutique Indochine With Gaurika has blended lycra into the typically heavy Indian dress, the anarkali, so women can balance style with comfort. 

It is having a Diwali sale of up to 50 per cent discount on apparel and accessories.

Where: 02-62 Parkway Parade, 80 Marine Parade Road When: Sale is on till Oct 26 Cost: From $150 for a full anarkali outfit Info: Call 6440-5001

8) Buy a gift for your Hindu friends

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Gift exchanges are common among those celebrating the Festival of Lights. 

The folks at boutique and art gallery The Sandalwood Room have come up with one-off gift sets that consist of handcrafted items such as notebooks, chinaware plates and novelty boxes.

Each gift hamper comes in a handwoven Kottan basket from India, a dying craft in the country’s rural areas.

Where: 76 Prinsep Street When: Hampers are available from now till Oct 21 Cost: $100 to $300 Info: Call 6883-2369 or 9786-5896