A Festival Of Food And Light
Thursday 26th November 2015 @ 10:21 by Lee Wild
Ashton News

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Ashton celebrated Diwali and the Hindu New Year last Thursday.

At the temple on Russell Street they held a festival with over 500 different types of food.

The two-day event attracted followers from all over the North West, to what was one of the biggest celebrations in the area.

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The festivities kicked off with the first arti (A Hindu ritual) at 7am before prayers for world peace and wellbeing.

Every hour from noon until 7pm, the ceremonial Rajbhog Arti was performed, which is a ritual offering of the food that was prepared.

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The food included a mixture of snacks, sweets, curries, pickles, salads and fruit drinks, as well as others.

Among the special guests on the day were the Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Vincent Ricci, and councillor for Hyde Philip Fitzpatrick.

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Diwali, also known as ‘The Festival of Lights’, signifies the return from exile of Lord Rama. It is a day to offer prayers for peace and prosperity.

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple in Ashton has been established at Russell Street since 1980, and is a focal place of worship for thousands of Hindus in the North West.

Mansukh Dhokia, from the temple, said: “Hinduism is a religion full of festivals and they give us a chance to express our devotion to God, to share with the community our family values and also to hold up traditions.

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“Diwali and the new year for us at the temple is especially important as it showcases all the values and traditions that we have in the community.

“It’s a time for us to open our doors and let everybody in and show everybody what the Hindu faith is all about.”