Children’s Diwali Celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir


HOUSTON: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, held a unique event to showcase the fun aspects of Diwali. On October 26, family and friends gathered at the Mandir to celebrate the “Festival of Lights” with a distinct focus on youngsters. Diwali is the mostly widely celebrated Hindu festival, marking the victory of good over evil and the beginning of the Hindu New Year. However at the BAPS Children’s Diwali Celebration the traditional rituals were combined with patient explanations and fun-filled games to engage a younger audience. Carnival games were set up to illustrate traditions and teachings from the epic story of Diwali. Families participated in events ranging from rock climbing, representing the climbing of a mountain, to making small oil lamps which symbolize the triumph of light over darkness.


As children raced from station to station many parents reminisced about their own fond childhood memories of Diwali. Chandrakant Patel a resident of Sugarland, mentioned that as a child in India this would be an exciting time and festive and now today his kids are able to experience the joy of this festival here at the BAPS Children’s Diwali Celebration. Organizers were keenly aware that transmitting traditions from one generation to the next was important to many families in attendance. The inspirer of the festival, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, had given his blessing that families should work together to celebrate Diwali. This message was on display as older children guided their younger friends from station to station. The entire event was created by the older children who had volunteered their time for the younger children. With their insights, modern touches were seamlessly incorporated within the event. Traditional Indian snacks and candy were complemented with ice cream and ancient stories were explained using puppets and videos.

Reflecting on the scenes of the day, Patel said, “When I see the smiles on my kids as they enjoy the day today, it takes me back to India. A traditional Mandir, festival and traditions is what is not only for the kids but for me too. All this is here because of my guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”

Patel’s son, 6-year-old Akshar Patel also shared his amazement, stating, “I got candy, balloons, and small fireworks today and the other kids talked about Diwali.” Akshar then bounced around the moon walk with excitement.

Despite residing in India, Pramukh Swami Maharaj continually inspires devotees all over the world to celebrate their Hindu heritage and customs.  These festivals allow for families to meet and celebrate the Hindu festivals and pass on traditions to future generations.

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a worldwide socio-spiritual organization in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, 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 a number of social and spiritual activities, BAPS endeavors to produce better citizens of tomorrow who have a high esteem for their roots – their rich Hindu culture.  Its 3,300 international centers support these activities of character-building. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is morally, ethically and spiritually pure, and free of addictions.

His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, has inspired millions of people across the world to lead a God-centered, morally pure life.  As the present leader of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj travels from village to village, continent to continent, emphasizing the importance of family harmony, community service and spiritual progress. He embodies the essence of Hindu life.  His compassion for humanity, universal wisdom and striking simplicity have touched many world religious and national leaders.

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