BAPS Mandirs across North America organized a unique event to showcase the fun aspects of Diwali. Family and friends gathered at the Mandir to celebrate the “Festival of Lights” with a distinct focus on youngsters. Diwali is the mostly widely celebrated Hindu festival, marking the victory of good over evil and the beginning of the Hindu New Year. At the BAPS Children’s Diwali Celebration, the traditional rituals were combined with patient explanations and fun-filled games to engage a younger audience. Carnival games were set up to illustrate traditions and teachings from the epic story of Diwali. Families participated in events ranging from rock climbing, representing the climbing of a mountain, to making small oil lamps which symbolize the triumph of light over darkness.
As children raced from station to station many parents reminisced about their own fond childhood memories of Diwali. The inspirer of the festival, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, had given his blessing that families should work together to celebrate Diwali. This message was on display as older children guided their younger friends from station to station. The entire event was created by the older children who had volunteered their time for the younger children. With their insights, modern touches were seamlessly incorporated within the event. Traditional Indian snacks and candy were complemented with ice cream and ancient stories were explained using puppets and videos.
Reflecting on the scenes of the day, Ami Modi, a parent said, "Growing up in India, Diwali was a special time of family festivity that meant so much to us all. It is hard to recreate that feeling of festivity for our kids growing up in America; but I am grateful to Pramukh Swami Maharaj and BAPS to help do that and make Diwali a special and meaningful time for our family."