The Hindu calendar year is full of festivals and days of special celebrations, most of which are held in the Mandir. Whether it’s an anniversary of the Swaminarayan tradition or other festivals such as Holi, Shivaratri, Ramnavmi, Rath Yatra, Krishna Janmasthami, Diwali and the Anna Hinduand New Year, each is celebrated with great devotion and delight.

The festivities differ according to each particular event, but all include special offers to the Deities. Some involve fasting for devotees, as well as special ceremonies such as a panchamrut abhishek. Major festivals are also accompanied by evening assemblies, the actual day of observance and sometimes also the nearest Saturday or Sunday. These include speeches that highlight the historical and spiritual significance of the event, as well as a montage of songs, dance and dramatic performances. Everyone is encouraged to participate, with festivities offering an opportunity for young and old to offer their skills and talent in devotional service.

Hindu festivals follow the Hindu lunar calendar, so dates vary slightly around the year. Some of the festivals featured on the calendar include the following:

FestivalMeaningApproximately. Time
Makar SankrantiIt marks the transition from the sun to the constellation of Makara (Capricorn) on its heavenly path to the north. A time considered especially auspicious for donation.January 14
Shastriji Maharaj JayantiAnniversary of His Holiness Shastriji Maharaj (1865-1951), founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and third spiritual successor of Bhagwan SwaminarayanFebruary/March
Maha ShivaratriShivaji’s Birth AnniversaryFebruary/March
HoliWelcomes the beginning of spring and celebrates the new life and vitality of all that followsMarch
Bhagatji Maharaj JayantiAnniversary of His Holiness Bhagatji Maharaj (1829-1897), second spiritual successor to Bhagwan SwaminarayanMarch
Swaminarayan Jayanti & RamanavmiAnniversary of the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri RamaMarch/April
Yogiji Maharaj JayantiAnniversary of His Holiness Yogiji Maharaj (1892-1971), fourth spiritual successor to Bhagwan SwaminarayanMay/June
Rath YatraCar FestivalJuly
Guru PurnimaOn the devoted day, honor and offer your gratitude to the guru for his spiritual guidance and support.July
Raksha BandhanThe sisters tie a ‘rakhi’ (sacred thread) around the dolls of their brothers affirming their bond between brothers and praying for the protection of their brothersAugust
Krishna JanmashtamiShri Krishna’s Birth AnniversaryAugust/September
Gunatitanand Swami Maharaj JayantiAnniversary of the birth of Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami Maharaj (1785-1867), the first spiritual successor of Bhagwan SwaminarayanOctober
DiwaliFestival of Light, one of the most important and popular Hindu festivals on the calendarOctober/November
AnnakutHindu New Year, celebrated with the Annakut, a great offering of food to the Deities made in thanksgivingOctober/November
Pramukh Swami Maharaj JayantiAnniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj (b. 1921), fifth spiritual successor to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and current leader of BAPS Swaminarayan SansthaDecember