BAPS Mandirs across North America organized a specially designed BAPS Kids’ Diwali Celebration for children to make early memories of celebrating Diwali with their families and friends.
Diwali is historically a time for reflection and community, where Hindus join together to share in accomplishments of each other’s personal and spiritual growth. This year, traditional Diwali celebrations were designed with today’s youngest generation in mind. In an effort to encourage young Indian children to embrace tradition, the celebration was themed, “Diwali: Experience Our Heritage”. In addition to a carnival arrangement, various stations were setup for children and their families to learn about customs and rituals associated with Diwali through hands-on activities. At one station, children and their parents decorated divos to take home for their family celebrations.
The Kids’ Diwali Celebrations provided an opportunity for children to learn and experience the rituals around this five-day festival. Through bright colors of Rangoli (ornate designs made of colored powder), decorated oil lamps, the elaborate annakut (offering of vegetarian food to Bhagwan), children participated in putting together spectacular celebrations across North America.
Parents participated in the event by joining their children for the celebration, spending time enriching a cultural legacy in their own lives by investing in their kids. The food and fireworks were reminiscent for many parents who once celebrated Diwali in India. Pramukh Swami Maharaj offered his blessings, encouraging families to work together in inspiring love and unity between each other with every passing Diwali.
BAPS youth development aims to build a strong foundation of Hindu identity among children to build confidence and character. The Kids’ Diwali Celebration served as a festive environment for children to grow closer in the common cultural ties that bind them together.
The five days of Diwali are rich in tradition and ritual, each symbolizing new beginnings and a renewed commitment to family. Diwali presents Hindus with an opportunity to celebrate the timeless traditions of their roots with great fanfare. Realizing this importance, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS, inspires its members to organize programs to not only celebrate Hindu festivals including Diwali, across all BAPS centers worldwide, but also enrich the youth with meaningful lessons on conquering the darkness within.