The Christchurch Fiji Association (Cfcessa) concluded its nine-day-long Ram Navami celebrations last week, with members and the wider community participating in bhajan programmes, rituals such as pujas, and distribution of prasad every evening. The celebrations were held between March 17 and 25.

The festival coincides with Vasant Navratri or Chait Durga Puja, resulting in celebrations being spread over nine days. Along with marking the birth of Lord Ram, it is also observed as the marriage anniversary of Ram-Sita. The organisers informed that a major part of the celebrations was the recital of Akhanda Ramayana every day. On March 25, the event ended with Ram janam and jhola, followed by Shanti Paath.

Vinesh Prakash, Secretary of Cfcessa noted, “While our bhajans extol the virtues of Ram, Lakshman, Sita, and Hanuman; Ram Katha – be it the entire Akhanda Ramayana, or just a part like Sunder Kand discussing the exploits of Hanuman and his meeting with Sita in Lanka – has so many lessons for all of us. Such celebrations also provide us an opportunity to introduce the younger generation to our culture. And Christchurch Fiji Association is very proud of the fact that two of our kids, Shanaya and Shreya, discussed few words about dharma with the elders in chaste Hindi, and won prizes for doing so. It’s a small step towards a long journey.”

Celebrations at Swaminarayan Mandir

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) also organised Shri Swaminarayan Jayanti and Shri Ram Navami celebrations at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Christchurch on March 25. The programme theme was Bhagwan-ni Kalyan Yatra, with devotees participating in bhajan-kirtans, and performing dance-acts depicting the life story of Bhagwaan Swaminarayan.