On 8 November 2016, Honourable Dr. Michael Nahan Treasurer; Minster for Energy; Citizenship and Multicultural affairs and BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Perth hosted the celebration of the auspicious Hindu festivals of Diwali and Annakut in Western Australian Parliament.
Diwali, commonly known as the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the sentiments of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. It is a time during which Hindu’s from around the world light traditional lamps and pray for peace, prosperity and ask the Lord to dispel ignorance and bring spiritual enlightenment.
Annakut, the following day after Diwali, marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. On this day, the Annakut, or ‘mountain of food,’ is offered to the Lord as a symbol of appreciation and gratitude. Devotees lovingly prepare vegetarian delicacies and offer them to the lord while singing devotional songs.
Hon. Dr Michael Nahan, Hon. Mark McGowan (Leader of the Opposition), Shri Hasmukh Wadia (BAPS Trustee), Shri Mittal Gajjar (Center Coordinator, Perth) commenced the occasion by lighting of the ceremonial Divo, which was followed by the recitation of the Shanti Paath to usher in peace into everyone’s hearts and minds.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Hon. Dr Michael Nahan, Hon. Mark McGowan, and Shri Hasmukh Wadia, with Hon. Mike Nahan and Hon. Mark McGowan both acknowledging and reflecting on the richness and significant contributions made by the Indian community to Australia. Both reflected on the values of Hinduism, and Diwali, and were proud to see them being displayed through BAPS in WA Parliament.
Hon. Dr. Michael Nahan and Hon. Mark McGowan were presented with decorative elephants as gesture of appreciation.
The event concluded with fresh vegetarian refreshments and delicacies being served to all who attended.
Over 87 distinguished Members of Parliament, Honorary Consul’s, respected leaders of various Indian and Hindu communities and BAPS guests attended this vibrant fantastic event in the Aboriginal People’s Room in WA Parliament. On display, and the highlight of the event, was the offering of grand Annakut (“mountain of food”) where a vast array of pure vegetarian food is traditionally arranged in tiers or steps resulting in a spectacular display.
The event was extremely well received by all members of Parliament, respected leaders of various Hindu organisations and invited Guests, and served as a valuable opportunity to strengthen interfaith Hindu community relationships as well as relationships with Members of WA Parliament.
To commemorate Diwali and Hindu New Year festivals, WA Parliament house was lit up and glowed red and orange for the 8 days until 08 November 2016.
Media Release and Images: Courtesy of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir.