From October 12-15, 2015, disciples from across the United States and Canada celebrated with grandeur the Diwali and Hindu New Year festival to ring in the year Samvat 2072. Diwali and the New Year symbolize the conquering of light over dark and of good over evil, as well as the rekindling of one’s relationship with family, friends, and the Lord.
Community members and disciples alike had the chance to experience, at our multiple centers throughout the US and Canada, grand annakuts, consisting of hundreds of homemade foods, that were offered to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in celebration of the New Year. Community members and disciples then had the opportunity to join in on several aartis that were offered to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa presiding amidst the various sweets and foods.
At the New Jersey Temple, a Community Open House was held to welcome members of the community. Upon arrival, attendees were warmly greeted inside the Temple’s decorative entrance. They were then guided inside to the Temple Hall where a grand ankut (mountain of food) was situated. Attendees viewed the elaborate food display, took pictures, and performed aarti (salutation) before proceeding to the interactive presentations that the Temple had in store. The presentations informed visitors about Diwali, the Hindu culture, and about the specific humanitarian and community service efforts carried out by the Temple organization. After a guided tour of the Temple complex, attendees walked through a series of booths and stands that conveyed the purpose of the event. Guests learned about food, attire, musical instruments, cricket and the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipeband which was in performance. An Organ Donation Campaign, in conjunction with the New Jersey Sharing Network, was also held to encourage attendees to register as organ donors. Most importantly, everyone took the chance to celebrate Diwali not only their family and friends but also with other community members – the purpose of the Temple’s efforts. All of the Swaminarayan Gadi chapters throughout the US and Canada also held programs to welcome prestigious leaders and members of the local community.
Local officials who have been associated with the Temple since before its construction also took time out of their schedules to celebrate this festive holiday with the community. North Bergen Mayor and State Senator, Nicholas J. Sacco attended the event. Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli and Town Councilmen Rob Constantino and Gary Jeffas were also in attendance. Anthony Vainieri, Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders also attended.
Chapters across the US and Canada watched together the New Year blessings given by His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj to the sants and disciples of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan all throughout the world.
After receiving the blessings, the temple congregation gathered in Muktajeevan Swamibapa Community Hall and collectively took part in a lavish feast to celebrate the New Year. Everyone enjoyed mahaprasad and annakut prasad. This concluded a phenomenal day of Diwali and New Year celebrations with fellow disciples, family, friends, community members, and, most importantly, the Lord.
The many disciples of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan residing all throughout North America celebrated Diwali and the New Year with lavish annakut offerings for the Lord, devotional performances, raas, and even fireworks. Please visit the various image links to view images of celebrations from all of the mandals throughout the continent.
All of the Lord’s disciples residing in North America wish you and your loved ones a joyous and blessed New Year, filled with peace, prosperity, happiness, and love ahead. Jay Shree Swaminarayan.
A moment of silence and a candlelight vigil ceremony took place for peace on earth in the wake of the horrific events that took place in Paris.