The Festival of Lights, also known as Diwali, celebrates the defeat of good over evil. All over the world, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and others gather for cultural traditions that include feasts, festive lights, vibrant rangoli displays and colorful customs.
Color and lights mingled with joy and tradition, as Diwali – The Festival of Lights – was celebrated with great devotion and splendor at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Green Fields, Adelaide all weekend long with public events starting from Saturday November 11.
Diwali is also a time when children look forward to the joy it brings. Parents and their children were scattered across the Mandir front grounds as they enjoyed the display exhibiting Nilkanth Varni’s pilgrimage, face painting, merry-go-round, rock climbing and the delights of subway sandwiches, muffins, and other fair festivities. Children were able to celebrate Diwali in a traditional sense.
Diwali is traditionally the day when business owners close existing account books and open new ones in preparation for the year ahead. The ceremony – called Sharada Pujan or Chopda Pujan – is also a time to take stock of one’s spiritual relationship with God. Diwali also signifies a time when charity, goodwill, family values and the love of God are celebrated and reinforced.
Devotees and well-wishers gathered in the Prayer Hall for the Chopda Pujan ceremony, which commenced at 4.30pm. Hundreds of new account books – in a variety of paper and electronic forms – were blessed through the showering of flowers petals and rice grains amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and prayers.
The highlight of the evening for both the young and the elderly was the spectacular fireworks display. Thousands of spectators, including families and residents, braved the unpredictable cold as they were enthralled by the colorful fireworks display that filled the November night skies.
In preparation for the festivities, many devotees, young and old, gave their time to help with creating decorations, food preparations, children’s Diwali festival arrangements and setting the stage for the most significant ritual of Diwali, Annakut.
The Annakut consisted of an elaborate display of over 1,051 vegetarian food items, each traditionally and freshly prepared, and arranged on steps in front of the murtis (deities) of God. The assembly was graced with the presence of Pujya Tilak Muni Swami and Pujya Nirved Muni Swami and by the new year blessings to all from the spiritual head of the BAPS, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj from India.
Invited guests for the evening included Mr. John Fullbrook (Member of Playford Representing the Premier of South Australia Hon. Peter Malinauskas), Hon Vincent Tarzia (Shadow Minister for Road Safety), Mr. Michael Brown (Member of Florey), Mayor Gillian Aldridge OAM (City of Salisbury Council), Deputy Mayor Chad Buchanan (City of Salisbury Council).
Also present were Cr Beau Brug (City of Salisbury Council), Cr. Lauren Brug (City of Salisbury Council), Mayor Michael Coxon (City of West Torrens), Cr. Surender Chahal (City of West Torrens), Deputy Mayor John Flynn (Campbelltown City Council) and Cr. Jagdish Lakhani (Campbelltown City Council).
The funfair, Diwali Fireworks and Annakut celebrations truly united the families of over 9,000 people who attended the event over 3 days in this festive time of the year.