Celebrating Ganesh in North London

Hindus the world over celebrated Ganesha Festival in September. The festival starts on the fourth day (Chaturti) of the lunar month, known to Hindus as Badrapad, with the sthapnah pooja when Lord Ganesha, also known as Ganapati, is welcomed in our midst. It is an occasion for devotees to rejoice, make their offerings and pay their salutations to Lord Ganesha.

The Mauritian Marathi Society (UK) celebrated the festival during two days in Palmers Green, North London, with the sthapnah pooja on 9th September. Ganesha festival is the major event in the MMS’s calendar. Devotees from the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe come together in North London to make the occasion a great success. This year the weather contributed its fair share to the success of the festivities.

As usual, a few days prior to the festival, a moorti (statue) of Ganesha was made with soft clay according to tradition. It was not fired so as to allow for the easy dispersion of the materials which have gone into the sculpting of the statue and which are not harmful to marine life. For the duration of the festival, the statue – the personification of Lord Ganesha – becomes the focus of our love and devotion.

The visharjan (immersion) – a highly emotional ceremony – concluded the festival. The moorti was ceremoniously immersed with the devotees imploring Him to poorna warsi nokarya — come back again next year. It is not unusual for some devotees to shed tears during this ceremony.

* Published in print edition on 18 October 2013

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