Celebrating Diwali and Annakut in Matthews

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More than 1000 people celebrated the festivities of the annual Indian holiday, Diwali, from November 5- 9, at the BAPS Shree Swaminarayn Mandir at 4100 Margaret Wallace Road.

Known as the “Festival of Lights,” Diwali is the most widely celebrated Indian festival in the world. It signifies the victory of good over evil and is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. The festival usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November, although this is decided by the Hindu lunar calendar.

For five days, adults and children come together wearing their finest clothing. During this time, families light lamps, and people gather to enjoy the beautiful candles that line the roads, illuminating the night. In India, people celebrate by cleaning and redecorating their homes; shopkeepers use it as the beginning of their fiscal year. It is also the start of India’s winter season.

While the lights are intended to signify a joyous celebration, lighting also has a spiritual meaning illustrating the importance of lighting the lamp within – celebrating the light of the soul.

During Diwali and the tandem celebration of Annakut - the New Year, families gather to feast on delectable vegetarian cuisine, and enjoy cultural programs and traditional entertainment in mandirs (temples) all around the world. Special Diwali celebrations are organized for children and youths to preserve the true spiritual importance of the festival.