Ganesha Festival and Celebrations in Milton, Canada
Aala re aala, Ganpati Bappa aala.....Saffron headgears, gleaming white kurta pajamas, vibrant sarees, dhol, decor, and crowds cheering Bappa's name in Canada, what could be better than this? The sounds of drums created an atmosphere of ecstasy and drew a picture of how the celebrations look back at home. The one-of-a-kind Ganesha Utsav that took place in the heart of Milton left a remark in people's hearts and minds. The sounds of drums created an atmosphere of ecstasy and drew a picture of how the celebrations look back at home.
FIRST EVER GANESH VISARJAN FESTIVAL IN MILTON TOWN .. BY HINDU SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (HSS) and MILTON MARATHI GROUP (MMG) along with 450+ BAPPA DEVOTEES.
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.
This festival is celebrated throughout India annually in reverence of Lord Ganesha – the elephant headed God, the God of New Beginnings, Wisdom and the Remover of Obstacles. Apart from India, this festival is also celebrated in Nepal, Fiji, Mauritius, most of the Caribbean countries and across the globe by virtue of the growing Hindu diaspora in countries such as in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, United States, and Europe.
The first day of the festival is marked with the installation of Lord Ganesha's clay idols privately in homes or publicly as a community event. During the 10 days of the festival, various rituals like chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts, prayers and songs praising the God are sung. Offerings of home-made sweets are made and distributed amongst devotees. 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, as a part of the first ever public Ganesh Festival Celebrations in Halton (maybe even in Canada), a group of passionate individuals from Milton decided to do the Visarjan (immersion) ceremony of the Ganesh Idols together, along with the Milton community, at the Milton Sports Centre Park.
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 co-ordinated saffron colored jackets and head gear 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) performed by the awesome Zhunjaar Dhol Tasha Pathak Group. 12 Ganesh Idols were brought by families from different corners of the GTA and beyond. One of the families got their idol from as far as New Market.
The procession was followed by a series of cultural dance performances by children, women and men from the organising team and friends. The youngest performer was 4 years old and the oldest was 64!
The celebrations were concluded with singing of aartis (prayers) sung by the entire crowd of 450+ attendees after which the Idols of the deity were immersed in large tubs filled with water. Everyone bade farewell to their beloved Lord Ganesha and prayed for him to come back soon next year!
One of the co-founders of the Milton Marathi Group and a HSS Swayamsevak, resident of Milton, Mukesh Bhati said “This was a dream of many Hindus living in Milton and we came together and made it happen. We were supported by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and more importantly by the team of strong volunteers who are residents of Milton and worked endlessly, spending sleepless nights to ensure the success of the first event of its kind. Special thanks to our core team - Neel Kulkarni, Darpan Patel, Arjun Singh Gehlot, Rashmi Vedpathak, Sumit Vedpathak, Saurabh Shirode, Chirag Thakkar, Sumitabh Kansal, Amol Sawant, Ramakant Pete, Rutuja Shirode.”
Anuprita Kulkarni, another co-founder of the group and a resident of Milton said “ We are lucky to live in a country like Canada where every religion, every culture is allowed to celebrate their roots and blossom. And the same is reflected in this amazing Town of Milton. This was our first endeavour and we intend to continue to bring more of such cultural events to Milton which not only allow Hindus to celebrate their festivals but also give a chance to other cultures to understand and experience the rich and joyous festivals of India”