Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, which is celebrated every autumn in the northern hemisphere. One of the most significant festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance."
The world Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, meaning “rows of lighted lamps.” Many lights and oil lamps are lit on the streets and in houses. Decorative designs are made with colored powder and the finished design is called a “Rangoli.” People visit relatives and burst fireworks as part of the occasion.
The preparations for Diwali started a month before the grand day at Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Shree Swaminarayan Siddhnat Sajivan Mandal – Nairobi. Disciples conducted sewa wherever possible, from planning, decorations, making the Annakut delicacies and organizing.
On the 7th of November, devotees gathered in the Mandir and assembled an exquisite Annakut. Several sweet delicacies and savories were prepared by devotees and symmetrically aligned on the Annakut stand along with fruit and vegetable carvings. Beautiful rangolis were also placed and a dainty set up of sequin sponge balls and paper quilling was made.
Devotees gathered at 5.30pm for Kirtan bhakti and Katha. Thereafter, everyone present meditated for half an hour to please Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. At 7.00pm, Annakut Arti was performed followed by Chopda Poojan. Business owners place their account books and ledgers infront of Lord Swaminaryanbapa Swamibapa and seek blessings for their businesses.
The Hindu New Year, Samvat 2075 fell on Thursday, 8th of November. Devotees gathered to receive divine discourses via audio from Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Devotees prayed that this New year commences with prosperity and blessings. Thousands of Hindus visited to witness the exquisite Annakut and receive blessings from Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
Devotees greeted each other and exchanged greetings for the New Year. Annakut Prasad was served to all.