North America for centuries has been a beacon of acceptance and integration of different religions, languages, values, cultures, and beliefs. BAPS for years has sought to preserve the essence of Hindu festivals by educating individuals, especially the youth, of their enduring spiritual significance. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is an especially auspicious time of celebration for Hindus. Diwali is a celebration of the historical return of Bhagwan Shri Ram from his 14-year exile from Ayodhya, accompanied by the universal values that he exemplified. During these auspicious days, families come together to celebrate these universal values of unity, respect, and loyalty while renewing efforts to live a more righteous and spiritual life.
In order to help families pass on this understanding and values to younger generations, BAPS has annually organized Kids’ Diwali Celebration at centers throughout North America. On November 7, 2020, a virtual Diwali celebration program took place for all school-aged children across North America. The theme, Choose to be Good, reminded children that righteousness is a key tenet of living a more fulfilling life. Where in past years, children would partake in carnival rides, board games, and engaging activities to learn of the significance of Diwali, the live broadcast, involved similar interactive activities through creative mediums this year. A unique storytelling experience engaged the children with rangoli and the lighting of divas. In the days leading up to the celebration, all children were encouraged to prepare a traditional food item to create Annakut at home across North America. Under the leadership and guidance of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS continues to promote activities that strengthen universal values and the spiritual knowledge of children worldwide.