Bal Vihar of St. Louis celebrates Diwali

Bal Vihar StudentsAshwin Patel

ST LOUIS: One of the core themes of Hindu religion is “Paropkaraha Punyaaya, Paapaya Parapeedanam.” And that is the integral theme of Bal Vihar of St. Louis through its “Donate-A-Diya” project.

Students Bal Vihar participated in Donate a Diya project again this year. They get to make/decorate a beautiful diya that they use during the Diwali puja and it remains as a keepsake that can be used year after year. The project asks students to donate money to a noble cause. Each year Bal Vihar picks couple of charities and distributes any money collected through this initiative to them. This year Bal Vihar raised over $1600 for “Asha for Education”, “Global Giving” and “Spoorthy”.

For over 25 years, Bal Vihar of St. Louis has been celebrating Diwali with great pomp. It is one festival that everyone looks forward to. With the growing popularity of the event, Bal Vihar event team and volunteers have to keep stepping up their game every year.

The students celebrated Diwali and Hindu New Year 2075 on November 11at St. Louis Hindu Temple and Mahatma Gandhi Center (MGC). The fireworks team had purchased and packed enough firecrackers to distribute to over 550 students and their siblings. Over 60 volunteers arrived early and got to work. They packed about 800 dinner boxes to be handed to families after the puja. With 700+ expected attendees, it was well accomplished by the volunteers

Puja was performed by all students in the Hindu Temple. While the students were performing puja, parents collected their dinner boxes and fireworks to be ready to start lighting up after the children were back. This year again, the volunteer team did a phenomenal job of making  everything safe  The families were split in different areas based on the age group of the students. This allowed everyone to have a lot of fun. Soon, the place was lit with sparkles and the joy was in the air.

The happiness and joy was very visible as everyone enjoyed the evening while Mother Nature helped with a great weather. Boxed dinner made it easy for parents to head back home after the fireworks and enjoy the delicious food at the luxury of their homes.

Center for Indian Cultural Education – Bal Vihar of St. Louis is a non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1992 it has been serving the Metro St. Louis Indian community. Students are also taught discipline, tolerance and devotion in their daily routine. The ultimate goal is “to throw the light of cultural knowledge on every child, to make every child an outstanding citizen and to spread the song of peace and harmony around the world.”

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