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One-Of-A-Kind Diwali Celebration At BAPS Mandir

Atlanta, Georgia: Color and lights mingled with joy and tradition, as Diwali – The Festival of Lights – was celebrated at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn on Saturday, November 10, 2007. Diwali is the most widely celebrated festival in India.

Visitors were greeted with a festive and traditional welcome at the temple entrance by a colorful Rangoli; a floor decoration, made from colored rice and displaying various traditional Hindu symbols.

“Diwali means a row of lights, and so it is also known as the festival of lights”, explained Anand Mehta, a regular at the BAPS mandir. “During this time friends and families visit temples to give prayers, exchange gifts and enjoy meals together.”

In preparation for the festivities, many devotees, young and old, gave their time to help with creating decorations, food preparation, children’s diwali festival arrangements, and setting the stage for the most significant ritual of Diwali, Annakut. The Annakut consists of an elaborate display of over 1,283 food items, each traditionally prepared, and arranged on steps in front of the murtis of God

Annakut preparation is an opportunity for teamwork and creativity. "The preparation begins at 5.00am in the morning for us" explained Amishi Patel of the BAPS youth wing. "We have a dedicated team that arranges the various food dishes to bring out the vibrancy of the Annakut and create a joyful atmosphere".

Diwali is also a time when children look forward to the joy it brings. Parents and their children were scattered across the Mandir frontgrounds as they enjoyed the merriment of the moonwalks, face painting, merri-go-round, and the delights of popcorn, cotton candy and other fair festivities. Children were able to celebrate Diwali in a traditional sense with the Diwali Annakut, along with the excitement of the fireworks show and funfair with their friends. The funfair and Annakut celebrations truly united families in this festive time of the year

Ultimately, Diwali is a time of peace and harmony. “Today we pray for peace, prosperity and happiness for our family and friends”, explained Sheetal Desai, an attorney, from Suwanee, GA. “This is the time to forgive and forget, and resolve to spend the coming year according to God’s and our Guru’s wishes.”


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