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Introduction

Swamishri's presence is always a reason to celebrate. Special days of festivals, then, are especially enriched with joy and jubilation whenever celebrated in his divine presence.

And among all celebrations perhaps, nothing arouses more auspiciousness and elation than the end and beginning of a year.

This year, in the presence of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the 3-day festivals associated with Diwali, including the Annakut festival and New Year held in Gondal, India.

Significance of Festivals

Diwali is the last day (Aso vad 30) of the year in the Hindu calendar, and celebrations begin two days before Diwali.

The first festival is called Dhanteras (Aso vad 12; 5 Nov. 2010). Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth, and Lakshmi - in the form of currency are offered pujan (worship). Lakshmi Pujan is also performed with sentiments of purifying one’s wealth and that it be utilized for noble purposes during the New Year.

On the next day, Kali Chaudas (Aso vad 13; 4 Nov. 2010), Shri Hanumanji is worshipped to drive away all inauspicious and ill-omened elements. On this day, Lord Krishna destroyed Narkasur and released the 16,000 damsels that the demon had imprisoned.

Diwali (Aso vad 14; 5 Nov. 2010), the last day of the year, is celebrated because Lord Ram returned victorious to Ayodhya from his 14 year exile in the forest. On this day, lamps are lighted as a symbol of jubilation for Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya and a sign to kindle the light of knowledge and divinity within one’s heart.

Chopada pujan or the ritual for the sanctification of account books for the New Year is also held on this day.

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