Canadian – Indians celebrate the Festival of Lord Ganesh in Toronto
As a testimony to the multiculturalism of Canada, the Maharashtrian Indian festival of Lord Ganesha was celebrated with great enthusiasm and gusto in Toronto.
Ganesha Chaturthi is an important Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
As part of the celebrations, Indian families bring home idols of Lord Ganesha for 10 days and worship them daily. The idols are carefully decorated with fresh flowers and incense sticks and different sweets are offered to God every day.
At the end of 10 days, the idol is immersed in water.
Lord Ganesha is the symbol of wisdom, fortune and prosperity and is considered to be very auspicious to worship.
The Indian community in Toronto came together to celebrate not only thefestival but also a cultural gateway to the country.
“We have been living in Toronto for over 20 years now. We bring home Lord Ganesha every year without fail and celebrate with family and friends. It was difficult to find materials for decoration and ingredients for special recipes initially but the world is becoming smaller and everything is freely available in this part of the world,” said Vandana Pawar, an Indo-Canadian.
Shravan Annumala, a Toronto resident for two years, said it was his first experience celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in Canada.
“It was wonderful seeing our rich culture reflect in this beautiful land. My cousins who are born here are familiar with our traditions inspite of staying here and that’s the beauty of this country. Everyone respects the culture of the other person and celebrates together,” Anumala said.
For some international students who just recently came to Toronto, being a part of these big celebrations was not possible.
“I didn’t know Toronto had celebrations because there was nothing in the media or social media about it. I had brought an idol from India and I decorated a small corner in my room for friends to come and worship,” said Ahana Mukesh, a Humber student.
For Torontonians, the celebrations were nothing short of a visual treat.
From amazing delicacies to soothing music playing at homes with idols, Ganesh Chaturthi in Toronto was no different from what it is back in India.
While there is no specific celebration hinted at the local temples, families are planning to take the initiative to take celebrations in their own hands.
“Next year we are planning to organise a bigger event in Brampton where we can have a gathering. Nothing is final yet but we are trying to urge the Indian community to come together and have a grand celebration which everyone else can also be a part of,” Pawar said.
Celebrations began on the 13th of September and lasted as long as 24th September.
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