One of the best things about living is Singapore is how they embrace their ethnically diverse population. This past weekend was the public holiday for Diwali. The kids were able to celebrate at school. The elementary kids typically dress up for these holidays and while I went to Tekka Center in little India and bought (what I thought) very cute clothes, both Liam and Avery were too timid to wear them. I think they felt a bit left out when they saw how many kids did dress up, but sometimes you have to learn the hard way…
What is Diwal/Deepavali and why are there 2 different names?
Diwali (English: /dɪˈwɑːliː/; Deepavali (IAST: dīpāvali) or Divali) is a festival of lights and one of the major festival celebrated mainly by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. The festival usually lasts five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika(between mid-October and mid-November).One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. The festival is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, with many other regional traditions connecting the holiday to Sita and Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, Yama, Yami, Durga, Kali, Hanuman, Ganesha, Kubera, Dhanvantari, or Vishvakarman. Furthermore, it is, in some regions, a celebration of the day Lord Ramareturned to his kingdom Ayodhya with his wife Sitaand his brother Lakshmana after defeating Ravana in Lanka and serving 14 years of exile. (From Wikipedia). Diwali is the term used in northern India and Deepavali is used in southern India/Sri Lanka.
We were very lucky (especially this year with our strict 5 person limit) to be invited over to our upstairs neighbors home to celebrate with them. Nupur made us an amazing meal. Nupur’s been a wonderful friend to me here and it was so generous of her to share their culture with us.
Above is the Australian Prime ministers Diwali greeting. I hope you will watch it. I found it very moving right now. I believe we all need a little Diwali in our lives right now!
In other news, this past week I finished up my first season with my WITS tennis team. Our team overall did pretty well especially considering how new to team tennis most of us are. I’m proud of my record (4 wins 2 losses) and was super proud of my finally win. Playing line 1 against the #1 team in our league, we defeated their top 2 players.
Thursday night, our team went out to celebrate our season at a craft gin distillery (Brass Lion Gin) Such a cool place. Not only is it the first distillery in Singapore, it’s also the brain child and run by a woman (Jamie Koh, who is a friend of one of my teammates). It gave me a while new appreciation for the distilling process and I was so impressed by Jamie’s level of detail. Such a wonderful experience with my wonderful tennis team.
Earlier on Thursday I had also gone up high tea at the Shangri La again. This time it was an Indian theme for Diwali. Tasty food and lovely company
Needless to say, on Thursday I was exhausted and very full. While all this has been fun, it’s also helped to take the edge off the constant feeling of the unknown. We have a few friends being repatriated soon and as it’s been very difficult under the covid restrictions to make friends, I’ve been very sad about this. But such is life as an expat…. it’s also been increasingly difficult to watch the US spiraling down the covid hole. We feel guilty as we continue to reap the rewards of a successful government response to this crisis and continue to have more freedoms and opportunities. At the end of this week, our first leisure travel bubble opens with Hong Kong. While I’m still dreaming of a Hong Kong Christmas, we are watching to see how it goes for a few weeks before investing what is a considerable amount of $$$ into a trip. But it gives me hope that our Asian bubble will be successful sooner rather than later. Perhaps we will still get to see a little more of Asia before our expat time is up…