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BAPS Rings in New Year With Myriad Offerings

December 2003
BAPS Rings in New Year With Myriad Offerings

Diwali, popularly known as the ?Festival of Lights', was celebrated with great enthusiasm at the BAPS (Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purshottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) Temple, Clarkston, in the last week of October.

Diwali marks the last day in the Lunar Hindu Calendar and celebrations begin four days beforehand. On this day, the darkest of the month, people light divas (lamps) symbolically praying to the Lord for inner enlightenment. BAPS Mandir celebrated all four days with enthusiasm, and had a separate children's Diwali party to help the kids understand the importance of Diwali.

BAPS Atlanta is known throughout the United States for its Annakut festival, an elegant display of offerings before God. The Hindu New Year marks the end of the harvest season for Indian farmers. In order to thank God for His grace throughout the year, Indians offer a variety of freshly prepared delicacies to God on this day. In accordance with Indian tradition, more than 800 vegetarian dishes were offered to various deities. The Annakut was displayed in eight different miniature temples, which housed Hindu Gods and Goddesses. In each temple, food items were placed on steps leading up to the idols. Many decorative fruit baskets, cakes, flower arrangements and rangolis accompanied the Annakut. The Indian-American community was able to connect to its own culture through the festival that was celebrated, as it would be in India.

Diwali signifies the importance of family values, devout devotion, and love for one another. The magnificent beauty of these values inspired each and every person who came to the Diwali celebration. Each person left with the power of love and faith, with the zeal to start the New Year with great prosperity. Inspired by His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the celebration was an immense success. The festival was made possible because of the dedication of more than 250 volunteers and the two regional saints present during the festival.

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