Hundreds of people from the local community and also from France, Netherland & Germany came together at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the Hindu temple in Van Breestraat 10, 2018 Antwerpen for Darshan labh and at Onze-Lieve-vrouwecollege school to experience the vibrant sounds, flavours and colours of Diwali – ‘the Festival of Light’ – and the Hindu New Year Annakut celebration on 12th November. It was one of the largest devotional celebrations in Antwerp across the Belgium.
Sangitaben Chudasama, a volunteer at the temple, explained, “Diwali and the Hindu New Year bring values of goodwill, charity and harmony across communities in the Belgium and across Europe. As families continue to grapple with challenges, it was heartwarming to bring some festive joy and smiles to the people of European region and share memories that will bring hope and light for the rest of the year and beyond.”
The Diwali festivities included a special ceremony to bless business owners, families as well as students with righteous prosperity and success.
One of the highlights for visitors was the annakut – ‘a mountain of food’ consisting of more than two hundred 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, more than 550 visitors enjoyed delicious vegetarian sweet and savoury snacks and various souvenirs in form of Mahaprasad on the day of the festival.
Mr. Dirk Dielen Honorary Consul General of India in Antwerp also joined the Diwali Annakut celebrations along with his elder brother. He shared, “How BAPS serving the wider community through love and compassion, and this message of love and compassion that whole world needs right now. I am delighted and proud to be a part of these wonderful celebrations by BAPS Antwerp and also mention special Ganesh festival celebrated by BAPS Antwerp mandir and he congratulate and acknowledged to all volunteer who are doing this great seva and BAPS Antwerp mandir for celebrating this festivals on huge scale and also providing him this opportunity to be with Indian community in both festival celebrations.”