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Festivals | Deepavali Other Festivals
‘Deepavali’ celebrates the victory of good over evil, symbolised by the legendary slaying of the oppressive ‘Narakasura’ by Lord ‘Krishna’. It marks the beginning of the Indian New Year or ‘Festival of Lights’, on the new moon day in the month between mid-October and mid-November. The lighting of lamps symbolises the overcoming of darkness (evil) by light and the removal of ignorance through knowledge. It is also believed that the souls of departed relatives descend to earth during this festival, and the oil lamps are lit to guide them.  

In Singapore, this festival is celebrated with 'open-house' visits among friends of all races. Little India's temples and streets are decorated with spectacular display of lights, tinsel and garlands, overflowing with visitors and shoppers.

According to the legend, there was an ‘Asura’ King named ‘Naraka’. He was a tyrant. He oppressed his people, imprisoned many women and children and fought with ‘Indra’, the king of ‘Devas’.

The tyranny became intolerable, the people appealed to ‘Sri Krishna’, the ruler of ‘Mathura’. ‘Sri Krishna’ confronted ‘Naraka’, killed him and his lieutenants and freed all the prisoners.

The people were overjoyed and accompanied ‘Krishna’ on his triumphant return to ‘Dvaraka’, the capital of ‘Mathura’. When they reached ‘Dvaraka’, it was a new moon night and the city was in darkness. So the people of ‘Dvaraka’ welcomed the victorious ‘Sri Krishna’ and his followers with lighted lamps, which illuminated the entire city. He commented the day to be celebrated annually with lighted lamps, oil baths and other appropriate festivities.

The oil bath has special significance as ‘Sri Krishna’ smeared his body with oil and took a dip in the river to cleanse himself. Traditionally, oil baths on a new moon day was a forbidden practice. However, as he was actually Lord ‘Vishnu’, one of the manifestations of ‘Brahman’ (the Supreme God), he was above all rules and practices. So believers take oil baths in honour of Lord ‘Vishnu’.