Thousands of people from the local community came together over Diwali and the Hindu New year on 12 and 13 November at the Beddington Conference Centre to experience the vibrant sounds, flavours and colours of Diwali – ‘the Festival of Light’ – and the Hindu New Year. It was one of the largest devotional celebrations in South London.
Tanisha Patel, a local BAPS volunteer, explained, “Diwali and the Hindu New Year bring values of goodwill, charity and harmony across communities in the UK. As families continue to grapple with challenges, it was heartwarming to bring some festive joy and smiles to the people of South London and share memories that will bring hope and light for the rest of the year and beyond.”
The Diwali festivities included the annakut – ‘a mountain of food’ consisting of hundreds of dishes freshly prepared by devotees – that was artistically arranged as a devotional offering of the first meal of the New Year made in thanksgiving to God.
To add to the festive experience, visitors enjoyed delicious vegetarian sweet and savoury snacks and various souvenirs. Visitors were also able to take home their very own memory from a photobooth organised by BAPS Swaminarayan Satsang Mandal, South London.