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Diwali & New Year Celebrations 2016

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year!

May Lord Shree Swaminarayan shower his immense blessings on you and your family and fill your life with joy and great happiness and make all your wishes come true for the coming year ahead.

26/10/2016 - Rama Ekadashi Fast
27/10/2016 - Vagh Baras
28/10/2016 - Dhan Teras
29/10/2016 - Shree Hanuman Poojan, Kali Chaudas
30/10/2016 - Diwali, Laxmi Poojan at 5:30pm
31/10/2016 - Ankoot, Govardhan Poojan, New Year 2073
01/11/2016 - Bhai Beej

Dhan Teras

Hindus all over the world worship Laxmi - goddess of wealth. The lamps are lit to welcome Laxmi into house. Rangoli depicting footprints are also made to mark arrival of Laxmi. The shops and business properties are renovated and/or decorated to mark this day.

The legend has it that a son of King Hima would die on the fourth day of his marriage. His newly wedded wife did not allow her husband to sleep. She laid out all her ornaments and gold coins at the door and lit lamps all around the palace. She kept talking through the night to stop her husband falling asleep at night. When Yamraj - demigod of death arrived at the palace door in a form of serpent, his eyes were blinded with dazzle by brilliance of light reflected by gold ornaments. The serpent coiled around the gold coins listening to the tales of prince's wife. Yamraj returned without taking the prince with him the next morning. The young prince was saved from a sure death by the cleverness of his new bride.

Another tradition prevalent in India is to decorate horns of cattle and venerate them. The cattle - in a primarily agrarian society is considered wealth.

Dhan Teras also marks birth anniversary of Dhanvantri, the physician to the Devtas, who emerged from the ocean holding the pot of elixir - Amrut Devtas and demons churned ocean.

Kali Chaudas

Bhagwan Shree Krishna is said to have decapitated Demon Narakasur on this day to free 16,100 maidens he had abducted and therefore, this day is also known as Narak Chaturdashi. Some people worship goddess Kali at cemeteries to acquire black magic powers tonight.

Swaminarayan Bhagwan has asked us to venerate Hanumanji on this day. Indeed, today is considered the second birthday of Hanumanji. A year has passed since the return of Bhagwan Ram from Lanka. The leading commanders of army of monkeys including Hanumanji and Jambuvan had enjoyed the hospitality of Ayodhya for whole year. Bhagwan Ram asked all of them to return and in the assembly rewarded everyone generously except Hanumanji. He pleaded helplessness as He had nothing appropriate to give to Hanumanji. Sitaji took off an invaluable pearl necklace from her neck and gifted to Hanumanji. He returned at the back of assembly and started biting each pearl. He would spew out broken pearls. Everyone mocked Hanumanji for not appreciating such an invaluable gift. When Sitaji asked him, Hanumanji replied, 'I am breaking open pearls to look for Bhagwan Ram in them. I throw away pearls as I do not see my Bhagwan in them. I do not keep anything which does not Bhagwan Ram in it.' Somebody mocked Hanumanji, 'Why keep your body? Does it have Bhagwan in it?' Hanumanji tore open his chest and revealed Bhagwan Ram, Laxman and Sitaji in his heart. This devotion pleased Bhagwan Ram greatly. He asked Hanumanji to seek a boon from Him. Hanumanji asked to be present wherever and whenever Bhagwan's Katha is being narrated. Bhagwan Ram granted what Hanumanji asked and as a result, Hanumanji became immortal as people even today recite Bhagwan's Katha. Therefore, today is considered as his second birthday, which is related more to his devotion and physical birth.

Diwali

Bhagwan Shree Ram was exiled for fourteen years at insistence of His step mother Kaikeyi. He slain Ravan on Vijya Dasami and return back to Ayodhya after the passage of fourteen years. He reached Ayodhya on Aso Vad Amavasya. People of Ayodhya cleaned their homes and swept street and slit hundreds of lamps to remove the darkness of moonless night and let off firecrackers to show their happiness. This tradition survives even after passage of millennia. It is said that Pandavas returned to Hastinapur from twelve years' of exile and one year's incognito to reclaim their kingdom on very same day. Besides being the festival of light, Laxmiji is said to have emerged from ocean at the conclusion of churning of ocean.

Ankoot Mahotsav

Bhagwan Ram was coronated as the king of Ayodhya on this day. This day was the beginning of a new era for people of Ayodhya, as they had waited fourteen years for this day. It became the first day of the year to mark this momentous occasion.

There was a tradition to worship Indra, the king of Devtas on this day. Bhagwan Shree Krishna wanted to vanquish his ego and therefore, He put stop to this tradition. Instead, He asked people of Vraj to venerate Mountain Govardhan. Mounds of food was prepared and laid out in front of mountain. Bhagwan Shree Krishna consumed the food sitting atop the mountain. People could not see Bhagwan in His brilliant halo and assumed that Govardhan had accepted their food. Bhagwan Shree Krishna held Govardhan on tip of little finger of His left hand to protect people from the wrath of Indra in form of torrential rain. Since then, mounds of food ('An' means food and 'Koot' means high mound) is offered to Bhagwan on this day. Swaminarayan Bhagwan extolled this festival highly and celebrated Ankoot festival lavishly at many places including Gadhpur. Hindus all over the world greet each other 'Happy New Year' today.

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