Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, marks the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The festival, which lasts five days, starting with Dhanteras and ending with Bhai-Beej, is a time to rekindle one’s relationship with family, friends, and the Lord. The last day of the Hindu calendar year is known as Diwali day, and the following day is New Year’s Day. Disciples from across the United States and Canada celebrated with grandeur the Diwali and Hindu New Year festival to ring in the year Samvat 2075 at our various temples and centers scattered from coast to coast.
Disciples observed this auspicious celebration with prayers, utsav, and majestic annakuts (literally “mountain” of food and sweets) offerings for Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. The annakut displays included many many small mountains of assorted sweets, such as, pendas, barfi, kaju rolls, halwa, laddu, and more. Disciples also offered savory snacks, such as, kachori, samosa, sev, gathiya, puri, and more. The annakuts and temple were decorated with rangoli, flowers, and more. During all of the celebrations in North America, disciples performed kirtan-bhakti, listened to the divine blessings of Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree, and performed samuh annakut-aarti. Afterward, everyone was served dinner and the abundance of consecrated sweets and snacks, or prasad, from the annakut. To conclude the eventful celebrations, at many of our centers, disciples and community members performed samuh-raas and even lit up the night sky with fireworks and sparklers to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. Children and adults alike enjoyed and participated in the bright, colorful, and sparkling display to celebrate the coming of the New Year.
At Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey, disciples had also organized an Open House for the surrounding community members, which gave them the opportunity to have annakut darshan before proceeding to Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Community Hall for a colorful display of Indian arts & culture. Guests learned about Indian food, attire, musical instruments, arts, cricket, and the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, which was in performance. It was a wonderful event for disciples and community members alike to come together and share the joys of the New Year and our culture.
Throughout North America, disciples of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan enjoyed the Diwali and New Year celebrations. They pray to Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree to remain with them and shower their blessings throughout Samvat 2075 and always.