Chakra Announcements

Festival Of Lights, Diwali

by Caru das and Vaibhavi

Posted October 20, 2005

*WHAT:* *Festival of Lights
**WHEN:* Saturday October 29, 6 pm
*CONTACTS:* Caru & Vai (801)798-3559/787-1510
*WHERE:* Krishna Temple, 8628 S. State Rd., Spanish Fork, Utah 84660

The Krishna Temple at 8628 S State St. in Spanish Fork invites everyone to come celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, on Sat. Oct. 29 from 6 pm. The event will include classical and folk dancing, live music, dramas, a ceremony of lights, huge vegetarian feast, and offering of respects to a live cow.

Diwali is a shortened version of 'Deepawali' (Deepa=lamps, Wali=row: rows of lamps). Households in India put lamps in every window and temples brightly illuminate altars to bring in the best for the upcoming year. The date of the festival coincides with the return of the avatar of God, Sri Rama, to His ancestral kingdom after an exile of 14 years and many adventures. All the citizens welcomed Rama home by brightening up the entire city of Ayodhya and setting off fireworks.

The Festival of Lights occurs during the lull between fall harvests and the onset of the monsoons. Thus it is a time of thanksgiving, and that corollary festival is called Anna Kuta (literally meaning, 'heaps of food') Lord Krishna inaugurated this festival by inspiring the inhabitants of His village (Vrndavan) to worship the cows on this one day per year and to prepare a huge celebratory feast consisting of no less than 108 preparations.

Observing the above traditions, the schedule of events for this dual celebration is as follows:

*6:00 pm:* Rathayatra, *Chariot Fest*, for Gopal Krishna around temple verandah, chanting & dancing.

*6:45 pm:* *Govardhan puja:* Krishna once lifted a mountain named Govardhan and used it as an umbrella to protect His devotees from a devastating rainfall sent by Indra the king of heaven. This pastime is commemorated by circumambulating a large hill made from a sweet called hallava, and decorated with other sweets, savories, plastic cows, jelly bean rocks, broccoli spear trees, green coconut grass etc.

*7:00 pm:* Classical Indian dance performance (Bharat Natyam & Kathak) by *Divya Bhaskar: *1) Pushpanjali, an invocatory dance item followed by a verse in praise of Lord Ganesha 2) A Devotional song, an Abhinaya piece describing the great Lord Krishna.

*7:20 pm:* Comedy: *'The Scholar & The Boatman'* (short version)*

* *7:35 pm:* Folk dance by *Simran Motwai & Classical by Neda Dasi

* *8:00 pm: Go Puja: * Worship of a live cow with flower garlands and sweets. Indian culture is that instead of killing the cows for 700 lb.. of their meat, they are respected for producing an average of 90,000 lb. of nutritional wholesome milk in a lifetime. And because we all drink the milk of a cow in our infancy, the cow is regarded as a sort of mother.

*8:15 pm.* *Anna Kuta & Arotik Ceremony:* Lights in the temple room are turned down and the altar area is opened dramatically to the sounds of conch shells being blown and gongs sounding, to reveal a food extravaganza of many preparations offered to the Deities. The whole show is illuminated by flashing colored lights and dozens of votive candles.

*8:30 pm: Ras Garba,* Indian Folk Dancing (very easy for anybody to learn in minutes)

Throughout the evening: Huge vegetarian feast served downstairs while program goes on upstairs. $ 5.00 donation per plate. Samosa, pakora, rasgula, saag paneer, puri, sandesh, hallava, papadam, kher, matar paneer, alou gobi sabji, kofta, malpura, gulabjamun, and on and on. Bring a preparation if you can to augment the feast!