Monday, August 31, 2009

Ganesha Festival Paris

One of the biggest outside of India and Sri Lanka and largely organized by the Sri Lankan Tamil community, the Paris Ganesha Chaturthi Festival is tremendous. It's celebrated as the birthday of Ganesh and the day people pay homage - mostly in the form of coconuts - to this diety who is the remover of obstacles on our path.

There were Tamil drummers and dancers; cacophonous chants; toe-crushing crowds (no shoes in the Temple); Brahmin in chariots; vibrant colors, endless images of Ganesh, fire, incense, jasmine, heroic number of coconuts.

The Brahmin breaks the coconut and gives it back to you filled with flowers, sandalwood paste, and camphor. Apparently, "the shell symbolises the illusion of the world; the flesh symbolises individual Karma; and the coconut milk symbolises the human ego. By breaking the coconut, you offer your heart to Ganesh."

Om gam ganapataye namaha!