In a vibrant celebration of light, joy, and community spirit, the BAPS Hindu fellowship in Paris enthusiastically marked Diwali and Annakut on Sunday 3 December 2023. Embracing the theme "Sukhno Marg" (The Way to Happiness), the festival was a radiant testament to the enduring values of friendship, family, and divine faith.
The event was an extraordinary display of youthful energy and creativity, with the spirit of Diwali brought to life by over 1200 participants, including 150 children. The youngsters captivated the audience not only with thought-provoking dramas but also with their lively dance performances. Each act, echoing the theme of finding happiness through good friends, a nurturing family, and devotion to God (Bhagwan), was more than just a display of talent; it was a resonant message of profound meaning to all attendees.
One of the highlights was the traditional annakut, a 'mountain of food' symbolizing gratitude. This year, the array of delicacies was exceptionally diverse, adding a delightful culinary dimension to the event. The meticulously planned and executed programme by the young volunteers was a clear indication of their dedication and organizational skills.
The event was graced by esteemed guests, including His Excellency Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to France and Monaco, who expressed his admiration for BAPS's ability to organize such events.Mr. K G Praveen Kumar, Minister (Consular) from the Embassy of India in Paris, and Mr. R. Sookun, Deputy Head of Mission, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Mauritius in Paris, also attended. Additionally, leaders from various Indian communities and associations were present, reflecting the unity and diversity within the Indian diaspora.
This year's novel addition, a food stall, was a resounding success among attendees. It offered a chance to savour a variety of traditional Indian flavours.
As the event drew to a close, the teachings of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj resonated in the hearts of all. Their message, "In the joy of others lies our own, in the progress of others rests our own, in the good of others abides our own, know this to be the key to happiness," perfectly encapsulated the essence of the celebration. This profound message from the spiritual leaders served as a fitting conclusion to an event that not only celebrated Diwali and Annakut but also embodied the ethos of BAPS – a commitment to spreading happiness and harmony in the community.