Monday, August 29, 2011

Fete de Ganesha Paris 2011



Craziness. That is summing up in one word. Fete de Ganesha is the festivities organized by Parisian Ganesha devotees. Does it coincide with Ganesha Chathurthi? I am not an expert. But this year, it coincided with the period. The main attraction of this festival is the procession which starts from the Ganesha temple returning back to the starting point after taking a stroll through the narrow local streets infested with Srilankan shops. Though I call it "Little India", this is not true. This is "Little Srilanka".

The streets and the shops were decorated for the day with Tamil and Hindi devotional songs flowing out along with the smell of incense. There were a lot of jasmine sellers on the street. Parisians have come in hordes to see the festivities. Their curiosity factor added to the sales of jasmine. Once bought, jasmines were tied in different innovative styles which invoked laughter. The traffic came to a standstill. The local press covered the event. Press and volunteers controlling the traffic had yellow badges either hanging from their pockets or tied around the arm.




The procession with the floats were the main attraction. Each of the float is preceded by people playing Indian instruments or the dancers. The bigger floats were pulled by people. There was one float pulled by men and another pulled by women. It was fun to watch people dancing and pulling with religious fervor.







Some Parisians looked at the event from their balcony.

The procession lasts more than 2 hours. The streets are so thickly packed that you can hardly move. I didn't wait for the entire drama to unfold. I moved away with lots of picture and memories to write about. But soon I realized the restaurants were charging "Ganesha" specials in their bills.

Tags: Travel,Paris,Ganesha

11 comments:

  1. Wow.. looks like Chennai or some south Indian street. Can't imagine its Paris.

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  2. @Harish - :) It is Paris! Now, you can imagine the surprise/shock of the Parisians!

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  3. oohh.. I never knew that Ganesha chaturthi is celebrated in paris too..!!!
    Its beautiful.. Thanks a lot for sharing..!!

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  4. @Madhulika - :) Always a pleasure.

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  5. this was a sweet surprise. ganesha in all his splendor in PARIS :))
    yes it did look like another regular strret in India

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  6. @Sujatha - If you look at the procession, I agree it looks like a regular street in India. But if you were there, then you would look up and see faces of all ethnicities curiously looking on. In the sidewalks, you will find people with different ethnicities too. :)

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  7. Wonder what Ganesha thought about being in Paris and being gawked at ;-)

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  8. Oh, this is interesting! Though I live in India I am not exactly religious and the Ganesha festival does not mean much to me. Surprising that it is celebrated in Paris! More surprising is the fact that Sri Lankans celebrate it with such pomp. In India the Ganesh festival began in the pre independence days when a community worship was used as a forum to mobilize the community around the freedom movement. Now the Ganesh Puja is a source of communal clashes with muslims!

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  9. @Meera - I was talking to friend from Maharashtra yesterday. He was telling me the genesis of this festival. Earlier, it was celebrated inside one's house. Lokamanya Tilak was instrumental in making people come outside and celebrate this event with fervor.

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  10. Great did not realize that Ganesh festival was so elaborate in Paris.

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  11. @Vikram - Thanks for dropping by. This is my first year in Paris. I have heard about this from locals and hence decided to go check it out.

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