Holi is an auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar. It welcomes the onset of spring and celebrates the new life and vitality of all that follows. The beauty, energy, and spiritual significance of Holi were celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chigwell on Sunday 24 March 2024.
Devotees and members of the community arrived at the Mandir throughout the day and paid their respects to the murtis, which were adorned with vibrant colours to mark the occasion.
Amongst the many significant events and beliefs associated with Holi, one of the most renowned is the protection of young Prahlad by Bhagwan Vishnu. He was saved from a raging fire instigated by his demoniac father King Hiranyakashipu. Holi thus symbolises the burning of evil instincts and the saving grace of God during which worshippers make offerings into a bonfire and reverently walk around it.
Holi also marks the Vedic ritual of offering the first spring harvest to Agni, the fire deity. The Holika Dahan symbolised the essence of love, joy, and triumph of good over evil through ceremonial rituals and prayers that were offered at a large fire, lit on the grounds of the Mandir in the evening.
Devotees availed of the newly harvested grains after offering them to the devas. In keeping with this ancient custom, hundreds of devotees offered coconuts into the bonfire. The festive atmosphere was enhanced by families and friends spending time together and enjoying a range of delicious hot snacks that were served at various food stalls.
Akshay Maisuri, a volunteer at Chigwell Mandir, shared, “It has been wonderful to see so many people join us with such enthusiasm and devotion for the inaugural lighting of the Holi bonfire here in Chigwell. We hope we have served everyone well and we look forward to seeing many more visitors for these celebrations in the coming years.”

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