Atlanta, GA, November 8, 2019: A new year, a fresh new start.
A time to come together to reflect and introspect for individuals, families, and communities.
“I can count on BAPS every year,” expressed Congressman Rob Woodall as over 6,000 Hindus and community members gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, Georgia to celebrate Diwali. “This is why I am at Diwali again this year. When I crossed through the gate at the very front of the facility, I feel the warm embrace of family that this community has given to me time and time and time again.”
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.
Diwali is known as the festival of lights and holds special significance to Hindus. 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 on October 28th, 2019.
The five days of Diwali include a set of joyous cultural traditions that symbolize new beginnings and a renewed commitment to family and society. Individuals take this time to start anew and commit to spiritual growth and familial harmony. 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 an elaborate Annakut, lighted divos and rangoli, fireworks, and even a special children’s Diwali celebration.
Attendees participated in celebration activities, offered prayers for new beginnings, and had the opportunity to partake in the delicious offerings of the Annakut.
The celebrations were open to all members of the local community and attendees included Congressman Rob Woodall; Chief Lou Solis, Gwinnett County Sheriffs Office; Mike Levengood, Chair of Gwinnett Parks Foundation; Peggy Levengood, President of Gwinnett Parks Foundation; Lois Allen, Board member Gwinnett Parks Foundation; Chris Steverson, Sheriff of Telfair County; and Wendy Davis, Rome City Commissioner.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.