A new year, a fresh new start; the ancient tradition of lighting lamps, during Diwali, symbolizes the transition from darkness to light.
The physical act of lighting lamps on Diwali symbolizes an individual’s efforts to remove the darkness from one’s self in forms of anger, envy, greed, arrogance and resentment. Through its thought-provoking customs and traditions, Diwali presents a time to reflect and a time for introspection for individuals, families and communities.
Hindus and community members gathered at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Warrington to celebrate Diwali in late October. Diwali is a five-day celebration that culminates with the Annakut celebration – a decorative offering of vegetarian sweets and food – on the Hindu New Year’s Day celebrated on Sunday, Oct. 27.
The five days of Diwali include a set of joyous cultural traditions that symbolize new beginnings and a renewed commitment to family and society. Diwali presents Hindus an opportunity to connect with and celebrate the traditions of their roots with fanfare and a sense of community.
Offering his prayers to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj prayed for devotees’ spiritual, personal and professional growth in this new year. This Diwali, Mahant Swami Maharaj emphasized the importance of leading spiritually centered lives, grounded in strong values and increased attachment to God for individuals and families.
Similar celebrations took place at over 100 mandirs across North America. The auspicious five days of Diwali were celebrated with elaborate Annakut, lighted divos and rangoli, fireworks, and a special children’s Diwali celebration.
The celebrations were open to all members of the local community, including U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Shirley Yanich and Ruth Schemm and staff from Sen. Maria Collett’s office. Attendees participated in celebration activities, offered prayers for new beginnings, and had the opportunity to partake in the delicious offerings of the Annakut.