CHINO HILLS,CA-Devotees at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir here organized various events to share Diwali with the local community. The five days of Diwali were filled with optimism and enthusiasm as volunteers and devotees worked side by side, looking past their differences, to build the annakut and prepare for Diwali events.Inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS,
devotees welcomed guests to the mandir with well wishes for the New Year. Swamis visited with community members to offer their prayers for peace and prosperity among families. Fireworks and cultural exhibitions took place so visitors would find their experiences both entertaining and educational. “Diwali is that time of the year when family, friends and relatives get together and strengthen their bonds through various festivities. Being away from India should not cause a lapse in our traditions”, said Bharatsinh Zala. “Preparations for the festivities begin months in advance. Devotees, young and old, sacrifice their time to help in creating decorations, food preparation, children’s Diwali celebration arrangements, as well as decorating the stage for the most significant ritual of Diwali, the Annakut,” said, Divyesh Patel. On November 14, the Children’s Diwali celebration took place. The celebration was as much fun as it was educational. The children learned the history and origin of this festival, played a variety of exciting games ,and were given an assortment of gifts and goodies. This year His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj celebrated Diwali and Annakut in Sarangpur, Gujarat, India. He blessed the devotees on the New Year day.