2 million expected at Deepavali festivities

Four giant lion sculptures - a tribute to the city's ancient Singapura name - have taken their positions in Serangoon Road.
Four giant lion sculptures - a tribute to the city's ancient Singapura name - have taken their positions in Serangoon Road.PHOTO: LITTLE INDIA SHOPKEEPERS

Four giant lion sculptures - a tribute to the city's ancient Singapura name - have taken their positions in Serangoon Road.

They were installed by the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association to give a roaring welcome to the two million visitors expected to throng the area in the lead-up to Deepavali on Nov 10.

The association has organised a series of activities from Saturday to Nov 22 to celebrate the Festival of Lights which marks the triumph of good over evil.

The lions are also a nod to SG50, said association chairman Rajakumar Chandra. "The word Singapura means lion city in Sanskrit, so we thought it would be fitting to highlight our past through the symbol of a lion as we celebrate Deepavali in our jubilee year."

The association and the Hindu Endowments Board have been organising Deepavali celebrations since 2000. Last year's festivities drew some 1.6 million people.

This year, it will kick off with a light-up ceremony on Saturday. Other highlights include an outdoor fashion show on Sept 26; a festival village in Campbell Lane and Hastings Road, and a countdown concert on Nov 9. More than 30,000m of lights have also been strung along Selegie, Serangoon and Race Course roads.

Visitors can also keep an eye out for the Deepavali Thaata (grandfather), the local Indian version of Santa Claus, who will take to the streets to distribute sweets and tell the story of Deepavali's origin.

A parrot astrologer and other traditional Indian craftsmen, such as potters, will be stationed outside the Indian Heritage Centre from Oct 5 to Nov 7.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2015, with the headline '2 million expected at Deepavali festivities'. Print Edition | Subscribe