Sharing the Deepavali joy with others

Residents of various faiths and races from the South East District celebrating with devotees at the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road. A guided tour of the 140-year-old Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was held for the volunteers and residents
A guided tour of the 140-year-old Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was held for the volunteers and residents of the South East District.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai hosting a yearly Deepavali dinner with halal food for his relatives and neighbours at his Sembawang home yesterday.
Residents of various faiths and races from the South East District celebrating with devotees at the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Residents of various faiths and races from the South East District celebrating with devotees at the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road. A guided tour of the 140-year-old Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was held for the volunteers and residents
Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai hosting a yearly Deepavali dinner with halal food for his relatives and neighbours at his Sembawang home yesterday.PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Deepavali for the Balakrishnan family yesterday started with an early morning oil bath followed by breakfast.

The family then gathered in the living room of their Loyang Rise home at 10.30am to receive blessings from the elders.

Senior marketing manager Subashini Balakrishnan, 34, then cajoled her four-year-old son Aditya and two-year-old daughter Anjuna into kneeling and wishing their grandparents a happy Deepavali in Tamil and English.

They were among the many who celebrated this holy day, including those who were not Hindu.

About 80 residents of various faiths and races from the South East District celebrated the day with around 500 devotees at the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road. The residents spent the morning gaining an understanding of Hindu practices, the background of various deities and the significance of Deepavali.

The visit is the sixth instalment of the South East Community Development Council's "Celebrating our Festivals" series, which aims to be a platform for Singaporeans from different faiths and races to experience and celebrate the major festivals here.


Housewife Kannappaachary Yogarani, 59, carrying her two-month-old granddaughter Kaushalya while she and her husband, senior regional manager Govindasamy Balakrishnan, 60, bless their daughter-in-law Asha Mukherjee, 31, in a Deepavali tradition that the family has observed over the years. The eight members of the family who gathered yesterday at the couple's home in Loyang were among the many thousands celebrating the festival throughout Singapore. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A guided tour of the 140-year-old temple was held for the volunteers and residents. The temple has a rich history of multiracial unity stemming from having Muslims, Buddhists and Christians donating to its rebuilding, and having a Chinese architect designing the temple's new look in 2003.

Yeoman Pok, 14, the youngest volunteer from the Racial Harmony Youth AmbassadorProgramme, said of the visit: "Today, we were introduced to a variety of Deepavali snacks and some of the meanings behind the different Hindu practices during Deepavali.

"I appreciate the culture a bit more. It was a lovely celebration."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2017, with the headline 'Sharing the Deepavali joy with others'. Print Edition | Subscribe