In the UAE, Diwali was celebrated with a hashtag on social media - #UAEDiwali. Devotees and community members participated in Diwali from the safety of their homes via social media. Many homes participated in the #RangoliChallenge where people were asked to create a rangoli to a short Diwali music clip and post it online. Other participated by sharing their #DiwaliTraditions, #DiwaliMemories or their personal messages with #HappyDiwali. The community posts were aggregated on the website www.mandir.ae/diwali
and presented for all to cherish and share.
Along with this online participation, devotees were able to join webcasts of the special pujas and events. On 14 November, hundreds of devotees from the region virtually joined His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj for Chopda Pujan. The following evening, more than 200 households joined in to a special annakut. Every year, we offer Bhagwan thanks with a single annakut of a thousand dishes; this year let’s celebrate with ‘A Thousand Annakuts’. This was the thought behind a unique annakut festival held in Abu Dhabi for the Middle East Satsang region. On the evening of 15 November, a special webcast was created in which annakut was offered to the mandir murtis, while, simultaneously, hundreds of households shared their home annakuts online on the same webcast.
The special festival season was blessed with the online blessings of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the senior sadhus of the fellowship and Brahmavihari Swami, as well as greetings and messages from HE Dr. Mugheer Khamis al Khaili, Chairman, Department of Community Development, and HE Pavan Kapoor, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE.