News & Events
The final day of the Hindu year is considered to be one of the most auspicious and is celebrated as Diwali – the ‘Festival of Lights’. It is traditionally the day when business owners close existing account books and open new ones in preparation for the year ahead. The ceremony – called Sharada Pujan or Chopda Pujan – is also a time to take stock of one’s spiritual relationship with God.
This year’s Diwali festival was celebrated with great splendour and devotion at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London, on Tuesday 28 October 2008.
Following the evening arti, devotees and well-wishers gathered in the Haveli for the Chopda Pujan ceremony, which commenced at 6.30pm. Hundreds of new account books (some in the form of laptops or even portable memory drives) were blessed through the showering of flowers petals and rice grains amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and prayers.
The highlight of the evening for both young and old was the annual fireworks display which commenced at 9.00pm. Thousands of spectators, including families and local residents, braved the unseasonal sleet and snow, and were not left disappointed. For over twenty minutes, they were enthralled by a spectacular display which illuminated the bitterly cold October night. The beautifully lit iconic Wembley Stadium arch provided a stunning backdrop to the show.
As the crowds dispersed, the volunteers continued their preparations for the following day’s New Year’s Annakut.