Fête de Ganesh held in Paris with fanfare, devotion

Paris (France) streets saw “Fête de Ganesh”, the 16th annual colorful and joyful procession including a flowers-fruits-leaves decked float of Lord Ganesh, on August 28 in 2011, according to reports.

Reports suggest that coconuts were cracked open along the route during this procession which left from Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam Hindu Temple after a religious ceremony through the streets lined with crowds. Devotees, bare-footed and bare-chested, pulled the float which was lead by drummers, singers, pipers and dancers; while the procession was purified with saffron and rosewater. Women carrying earthen pots full of burning camphor on their heads and singing devotional songs were also part of the procession, while area restaurants/businesses/individuals distributed food and drinks along the route. A large number of devotees from various parts of Europe attended the ceremony, which was officiated by leading priests (Kurukkal).

Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of “Fête de Ganesh” organizers and area Hindu community to realize this wonderful Lord Ganesh procession and thus keeping the tradition alive.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this Fête would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.

Founded in 1985, “Temple de Ganesh” (Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam) in Rue Pajol of Paris holds three daily poojas besides Abhishekams on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It helps in organizing various homams, poojas, sasasranamams and kantishti at homes of the devotees; while at the temple it holds weddings, Lakshmi Pooja, 9-planets pooja, homams, etc. It runs a “boutique” also for selling religious icons, artifacts, etc.  V. Sanderasekaram is the Founder and President. Temple website claims that on September 23, 1995, the statue of Ganesh in the temple drank the milk deposited in the offering.

In Hinduism, elephant-headed and human-bodied Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents.

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