The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and Milton Marathi Group (MMG) came together in Milton, ON, on Friday, September 9th, to celebrate one of the biggest Hindu festivals of India – The Ganesh Festival. Lord Ganesha – the God of New Beginnings, Wisdom and the Remover of Obstacles, is celebrated for ten days as he comes and visits his devotee’s homes.
The first day of the festival is marked with Lord Ganesha’s clay idols installed in homes or as a community event. During the ten days of the festival, various rituals like chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts and prayers are sung. On the tenth day, as a culmination of the festival, the idol is carried in a public procession with much fanfare, music and group chanting and then immersed in a nearby water body such as a river or sea.
This year, two organizations, the HSS and MMG, came together to bring the town its first Ganesh Festival. In this Visarjan (immersion) ceremony, many people brought their own Ganesh Idols to the Milton Sports Centre Park for a group immersion. There were over 450 attendees at the event.
The event started with a motorcade that brought Lord Ganesh idols from various homes across Milton to the park. The procession was received by an excited congregation of devotees wearing coordinated saffron-colored jackets and headgear waving saffron-coloured flags. They chanted praises for their beloved deity as they went around a small portion of the park and danced to the beats of the dhol and Tasha (Indian drums). 12 Ganesh Idols were brought by families from different corners of the GTA and beyond.
The procession was followed by a series of cultural dance performances by children, women and men from the organizing team and friends.
By Diksha Pal Narayan
Photos by Denise Cooperwhite