Hundreds of people from across Birmingham gathered to celebrate Diwali (the Festival of Light) and the Hindu New Year last week at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Hall Green.
Guests over the two days of festivities included the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Shafique Shah and the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Kate Wild, MP Lorely Burt, Coun Sam Burden, and Coun Jerry Evans.
The most important festival of the Hindu calendar was celebrated over the two days – traditionally a time when charity, goodwill, family values and the love of God are celebrated and reinforced.
Magnificent displays of beautifully bright, traditional Indian decorative patterns, flickering lamps, elegant arrangements of hundreds of delicious vegetarian food items, and an exhibition showcasing the talents of children as young as seven-years-old, were among the festivities.
The central attraction was the Annakut – ‘a mountain of food’ – which saw a grand offering of more than 300 pure vegetarian food items from around the world.
The dishes were prepared by devotees and offered to the deities with faith and devotion as a traditional form of thanksgiving.
Children enjoyed themselves in the ‘Kids Zone’ where they were able to take part in games, face painting and have henna designs on their hands. In addition, book stalls and food stalls were in operation throughout the day and everyone had the chance to share the food offered in the Annakut at the end of the day.
Lord Mayor of Birmingham Coun Shafique Shah said: “I am so impressed with all the volunteers. They are so welcoming.”
Mayor of Solihull Coun Kate Wild added: “It is an honor and a privilege to be here with you all. I am overwhelmed!”