BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a place for quiet personal reflection as well as joyous communal celebration.
The Hindu calendar year is filled with festivals and days of special observances, most of which are celebrated at the Mandir. Whether it be an anniversary of the Swaminarayan tradition or other festivals such as Holi, Shivaratri, Ramnavmi, Rath Yatra, Krishna Janmasthami, Diwali and the Hindu New Year Annakut, each is celebrated with great devotion and delight.
Festivities differ according to each particular event, but all include special offerings to the Deities. Some involve fasting for devotees as well as special ceremonies such as a panchamrut abhishek. Major festivals are also accompanied by evening assemblies – on the actual day of the observance and sometimes also on the nearest Saturday or Sunday. These include discourses highlighting the historical and spiritual significance of the event as well as a montage of singing, dance and drama performances. Everyone is encouraged to participate, with festivities offering an opportunity for both young and old to offer their skills and talent in devotional service.
Hindu festivals follow the Hindu lunar calendar, and so dates vary slightly around the year. Some of the festivals which feature in the calendar include the following:
|Makar Sankranti||Marks the transition of the sun into the Makara (Capricorn) constellation on its celestial path northwards. A time considered especially auspicious for donation.||14 January|
|Shastriji Maharaj Jayanti||Birth anniversary of His Holiness Shastriji Maharaj (1865-1951), founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and third spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan||February/March|
|Maha Shivaratri||Birth anniversary of Shivaji||February/March|
|Holi||Welcomes the onset of spring and celebrates the new life and vitality of all that follows||March|
|Bhagatji Maharaj Jayanti||Birth anniversary of His Holiness Bhagatji Maharaj (1829-1897), second spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan||March|
|Swaminarayan Jayanti & Ramanavmi||Birth anniversary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Rama||March/April|
|Yogiji Maharaj Jayanti||Birth anniversary of His Holiness Yogiji Maharaj (1892-1971), fourth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan||May/June|
|Rath Yatra||Festival of chariots||July|
|Guru Purnima||The day devotees honour and offer their gratitude to the guru for his spiritual guidance and support.||July|
|Raksha Bandhan||Sisters tie a ‘rakhi’ (sacred thread) around their brothers’ wrists affirming their sibling bond and praying for the brothers’ protection||August|
|Krishna Janmashtami||Birth anniversary of Shri Krishna||August/September|
|Gunatitanand Swami Maharaj Jayanti||Birth anniversary of Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami Maharaj (1785-1867), the first spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan||October|
|Diwali||Festival of Light, one of the most important and popular Hindu festivals in the calendar||October/November|
|Annakut||Hindu New Year, celebrated with the Annakut, a grand offering of food to the Deities made in thanksgiving||October/November|
|Pramukh Swami Maharaj Jayanti||Birth anniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj (b. 1921), fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and current leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha||December|
A list of upcoming festivals at the Mandir can be found here.
News with photos of recently celebrated festivals and events can be found here.