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Unity and Togetherness at Diwali

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir’s Annual Diwali Celebrations

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir’s Annual Diwali Celebrations

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.

Grand Annakut on New Years at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

Grand Annakut on New Years at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

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.

Diwali arti at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

Diwali arti at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

In 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 ferries 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.”

Many community members join in for the New Year Darshan.

Many community members join in for the New Year Darshan.

“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.

Kids Diwali Celebrations at event for the entire family.

Kids Diwali Celebrations at event for the entire family.

About BAPS
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.

Children enjoy games with friends at the Kids Diwali Celebration.

Children enjoy games with friends at the Kids Diwali Celebration.

About Mahant Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.

BAPS-in-6

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”

CONTACT: BAPS North American Headquarters
Phone: 732-777-1414
Email: media@na.baps.org

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