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Unity and Togetherness at Diwali

Lights and Fireworks Diwali Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Photos courtesy BAPS)

Lights and Fireworks Diwali Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Photos courtesy BAPS)

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan celebrates!

STAFFORD – Diwali is that time where neighbors, friends and families come together to forget and forgive by wishing each other joy and prosperity. A celebration when we teach our young about the festivities and stories of Diwali.
A young baby marvels at the spectacular wonderment of twinkling lights and extravagant decorations arranged in the Mandir’s main chamber and throughout the greater Mandir campus. New parents tied to the Hindu diaspora, seeking to preserve and pass on heritage and religious teachings to their children in the United States, find a place of learning and cultural preservation at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir’s Annual Diwali Celebrations.
Diwali, a five-day celebration of various rituals and practices, welcomes the New Year for Hindus and celebrates the triumph of good over evil in scriptural events. This year the Mandir featured a 5 day Diwali lights and music show for visitors to view.
For many visitors, the most popular attraction and a highlight of the festivities is the Annakut festival on the fifth day. As practiced by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs all over the world, the Annakut is a unique and awe-inspiring sight of devotion where hundreds of different traditional Indian foods as well as fusions with western cuisine are prepared by devotees in the community and arranged in front of the Mandir’s sacred images. In the evening, the offered dishes are served at dinner to everyone. This year, over 850 unique items were prepared and displayed in the Annakut.

Children enjoy games with friends at the Kids Diwali Celebration

Children enjoy games with friends at the Kids Diwali Celebration

COMM_BAPS_Grand Annakut on New YearsIn addition to the Annakut, the BAPS’ Diwali celebrations featured spiritual and cultural themed events, which engaged both children and adults, in order to bring positive energy into the New Year. Visitors and members learned about scriptural events related to Diwali, and observed traditions such as rangolis and other traditional forms of decorations.
Finally, all children were invited to participate in the Kids Diwali Celebration themed “Sanghe Shaktihi” or Strength in Unity. Families enjoyed food, games and fun activities, which included train rides, mini ferris wheel, bounce houses and various other activities for the family. The evening ended with a magnificent fireworks display, filling the eyes of all those present.
Hardik Desai said, “I remember those days in Diwali in India, where there is colorful lights, fireworks on the street.” He added, “Coming to the BAPS Mandir brings that same joy as I celebrate with my family.”
“The best part of these festivals is that it’s all done as one team. The entire program, the decorations, and the annakut are all prepared by volunteers of all ages.” said, Babubhai Patel, a BAPS volunteer.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s commitment to preserving the Hindu cultural and religious practices is inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. Their life teachings compliment the richness of the Diwali celebrations and embody Hindu history, practices, and principles. Through involving youth in the preparation and execution of the celebrations, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs also provide a forum for young people to learn and lead the community in cultural preservation and practice.


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