The Ganesh Chaurthi is now over for this time and it is time for me to try to sum up this festival. During the ten days of the festival, I joined in three different “events”. First I went to the Lal Bagucha, the probably most famous idol in the city. Also I joined my society when they were putting their idols into the Powai lake and finally I went to the Chowpatty beach at the last day of this festival.
So what have I seen, and what are my impressions of this festival? I kind of feel that what I have seen is a mixture a huge party and a religious festival. For me as not being a Hindu I really feel it is difficult to describe the religious part of it, so let me start with the party. Unlike Christianize festivals (like Christmas and Easter), which I find quite formal, this was much more informal. Maybe a bit typical for India. At all time during the ten days period you could see people driving their idol to the homes and singing, playing and dancing at the streets. And everyone who took part in this looked really happy! It was not like being in a church, which is almost a bit frightening, and with a completely different atmosphere. It was more like the Independence Day celebration in Norway, with parades and people who are partying. I did ask if most people were drunk, as they might look like, and the answers I got were a bit mixed. Some people said that a lot were drunk, while others said that they were taken by the Holy Spirit and that’s how they could dance like that. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
What then about the religious part? Well, if people are standing up to 18 hours in queue in order to pray to an idol, it surely is a touching religious moment also. For me, the most touching moments were maybe at Powai lake where I could see whole families coming and doing their Pujas. That was more like what I’m used to from Norway and it was quite touching to see how they performed this. Also at the beach at the last day it was quite many families who had both their needed belongings to the beach and performed the Puja there.
Altogether, the whole Ganesh Chaurthi was a quite touchy experience, and I do feel that I have absolutely learnt something new about the Hindu religion.
Talk to you soon!