Over 200 people from the local community came together at BAPS Swaminarayan Mandal, the Hindu community in Winnersh, to experience the vibrant sounds, flavours and colours of Diwali – ‘the Festival of Light’ – and the Hindu New Year on Friday the Friday 17 November.
Meera Patel, a volunteer at BAPS, 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 heartening to bring some festive joy to the people of Reading. The shared memories from this celebration will bring hope and happiness 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 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 enhance the festive experience, visitors also indulged in delightful vegetarian sweet and savoury snacks, along with exploring various souvenirs on the day of the festival.