Hundreds of people from the local community came together on Sunday 19 November at Grange Academy School 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 Watford.
Alka 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 Watford and share memories that will bring hope and light for the rest of the year and beyond.”
In keeping with these traditions, the BAPS Hindu fellowship organised a community initiative to collect food to help support families adversely impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. More than 80 tins and packets of non-perishable food were delivered to the Good Hope local food bank. Expressing her gratitude, director of the food bank Jane Smith said, “I cannot thank all the good people of BAPS enough for thinking of those less fortunate when they are celebrating Diwali. It perfectly reflects the charitable spirit of the Hindu community in Watford.”
The Diwali festivities included the annakut – ‘a mountain of food’ consisting of numerous 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.