May 28th, 2008 marked the 66th anniversary of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree’s manifestation on this earth. In honor of this special occasion, the disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey held a celebration on Sunday, June 8th, 2008. This was the first time since Acharya Swamishree’s 63rd birthday in 2005, which was held on a cruise ship on the Hudson River by the New York City skyline, that the disciples of the United States were blessed with the opportunity to celebrate this occasion. Also on this day, the official welcoming ceremony for Acharya Swamishree and sants was performed, and the American holiday of Father’s Day was celebrated.
The celebrations commenced with a procession on the temple grounds led by Swamibapa Pipe Band. Acharya Swamishree was seated on a horse and buggy for the duration of the procession, which was a wonderful sight for all. The procession led into Swamibapa Hall, which had been decorated specially for the occasion. The welcoming ceremony was performed after the procession to officially welcome Acharya Swamishree and eminent sants to the United States. Swamibapa Pipe Band then saluted Acharya Swamishree, and Acharya Swamishree cut birthday celebration cakes which had been made in honor of the occasion. He offered the cake prasad to Harikrishna Maharaj, and disciples then gave devotional speeches and performed devotional dances. Acharya Swamishree then showered His divine blessings upon the entire congregation. Following Acharya Swamishree’s ashirwad, disciples participated in a cake-eating contest to see who could eat three cupcakes in the fasted time with hands tied back. This was a fun event for all those involved and for all those who watched. Soon after the contest, disciples offered aarti to Acharya Swamishree, and maha prasad was given to all the disciples.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree’s birthday celebration, along with the welcoming ceremony and Father’s Day celebration, turned out to be an enjoyable and memorable occasion for all.