Diwali and the Hindu New Year are two of the most important festivals for millions of Hindus around the world. They bring values of goodwill, hope and harmony across communities – and these very values were embodied during the celebrations at BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu mandirs and centres around the UK and Europe.
Thousands of worshippers and members of the local community of all faiths and backgrounds came together to experience the vibrant sounds, flavours and colours of Diwali, the Hindu ‘Festival of Light’, and the Hindu New Year.
As a part of the festivities, visitors enjoyed darshan of the annakut – ‘a mountain of food’ lovingly prepared, artistically arranged and devoutly offered to the sacred deities as the first meal of the New Year. It is a profoundly devotional, ceremonial offering made in thanksgiving for the providence of God over the past year and to seek blessings for the year ahead. The food was then distributed among devotees, volunteers and visitors.
This year’s celebrations also paid tribute to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj on the occasion of his centennial birth anniversary. Pramukh Swami Maharaj devoted his life to bringing light, peace and harmony to others through selfless service.
In keeping with the Diwali spirit of charity and goodwill, perfectly reflected in Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s ethos of ‘In the joy of others lies our own,’ many of the mandirs in the UK also collected food during the Diwali period for local foodbanks around the country. Yogvivekdas Swami, head swami of BAPS in the UK and Europe, explained, “This is a very difficult time for many families as we face the impact of the ongoing cost of living crisis. We are grateful to be supporting the commendable work of foodbanks around the country to help deliver food to the most needy – and in doing so, sharing the spirit and values of Diwali and His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
Please click the thumbnails below to see galleries of the respective celebrations.