A FAMILY AFFAIR: A family browses through saris at the Deepavali bazaar along Serangoon Road. Plenty of families and individuals flock to this bazaar annually due to its central location and cheaper products. As Deepavali, which is also known as the Festival of Lights, draws nearer, the bazaar only gets more crowded as locals, tourists and foreign workers get their shopping done while revelling in the holiday spirit.
SWITCH ON THE LIGHTS: A long exposure shot of Serangoon Road during sunset with the Deepavali light-up in all its glory. Located at the heart of Little India, this stretch of shophouses is one of the most colourful yet crowded places in Singapore. As Deepavali, which is also known as the Festival of Lights draws nearer, it only gets more crowded as locals, tourists and foreign workers get their shopping done while reveling in the holiday spirit.
FIREWORK FRENZY: Tucked in a small corner of the bazaar, among the many festive decorations and Indian costumes lies a shop selling sparklers, party spray cans and plastic “bombs”. Just like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, festive holidays in Singapore are incomplete without the sight and sound of sparklers lighting up and children laughing and screaming in excitement.
HIDE AND SEEK: Two boys play a game of improvised “catching”, including splashing cups of water at each other while their parents shop in the Deepavali bazaar opposite the iconic Mustafa Centre. The annual bazaar is set up two to three weeks before the start of Deepavali and sells everything from snacks to saris.
GOLD RUSH?: The best time for a bargain in Serangoon Road is during Deepavali when the best sales come on. Almost every shop in the area puts up a sale sign (or two) so as to attract more customers and boost profits. However, not every shop, like this one, is successful in pulling in the crowds. Because of the prevalence of many other jewellery shops nearby, competition is fierce.
FLOWER POWER: Women (and some men with scribbled notes in hand) queue at one of the many garland shops that dot the area. Garlands have an important and traditional role in Indian festivals, and they are used during prayers, weddings and even as a form of respect for guests. The white garlands on the left are called “gajra”. Gajra are flower garlands that women wear either on the bun or braid coiling of their hair. It is worn along with a traditional sari during Deepavali.
SWEET SURRENDER: Just the sight of rows and rows of calorie-rich sweets is enough to put anyone in a festive mood. Traditional Indian sweets are a staple at every home during Deepavali. In Singapore, most of the sweets originate from southern India. These saccharine treats are usually made of rice flour, coconut and yes, a great heap of sugar. Popular choices include barfi, laddoo and gulab jamun.
SPOILT FOR CHOICE: Indian costumes adorn almost every corner of Tekka Centre’s shops. It is known among the local Indian community as the go-to place for ethnic costumes. Tekka Centre is a multi-use building that consists of a wet market and a food centre on the ground floor, while shops occupy the higher levels. The sheer variety of food and shopping options plus the centre’s proximity to Little India MRT station, makes it a convenient one-stop facility for locals and tourists alike.