2018-09-13 16:34:04 UTC
Sep 13, 2018
"Despite being away from home, no celebration is complete
without the bhajans, aartis and immersion of Ganesh idols"
PANAJI: Miles away from their families and ancestral homes,
Goans around the world will be joining members of other
communities in celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi.
For Goans in UAE, the festival has fortunately coincided with
public holidays for the Islamic New Year. "People decorate
their homes and light up their balconies. Those who don't
have the idol, visit the temple in Bur Dubai along with
members of Marathi, Gujarati and Sindhi communities. The
idols are immersed in the Dubai creek at Abra," says Shilpa
At the Abra Station, while some hire small water boats to
immerse their idols, others book an entire cruise where
people will participate in bhajans, aartis and have
mahaprasad for dinner.
"I will make it a point to take my child to watch the
visarjan," she says, adding that her family performs the puja
and prepares prasad. "I prepare basic daal, rice, puri, chana
masala, cabbage and bhaji and modaks. In Goa, it is easier to
make many dishes as the entire family gets together for the
festivities," Tari says, while accepting that procuring items
in Dubai is also not as laborious.
"All the items, right from grated coconuts to lights and
other decorations, are available in the supermarket."
Dubai-based Jitendra Dabholkar and his family buy the idol
from Chothiram supermarket at Bur Dubai. They try to make the
festival as homely as possible.
"Every year, we increase the height of the idol," he says,
adding that he is able to source almost all the ingredients
in Dubai, except turmeric and colocasia (alu) leaves.
"We make arrangements to get these from Goa so that we can
relish authentic Goan food," he says. "We keep the idol for
one-and-a-half days and invite friends of all communities. We
immerse the idol at Mazmar beach in the Goan style with
bhajans, aartis and slogans," he says, adding that friends
come over to assist in decorations and food preparations.
At the Silicon Valley or the San Francisco Bay Area, there is
a huge Indian diaspora and plenty of Indian stores to buy
groceries from, Ruta says. "Most of us celebrate the festival
at home during the week but go to the local temple to
celebrate on the weekend. There are two big temples -- one at
Sunnyvale and the other at Livermore and multiple smaller
ones scattered over the Bay Area," Ruta says.
Idols for immersion are usually collected in the temple and
immersed collectively in the tank and the water recycled for
safety and ecological reasons.
"Children are also encouraged to make eco-friendly idols in
the temple," she says.
Though not aware of any particular community celebration,
Ruta says a lot of people, mostly belonging to Goan and
Maharashtrian families, come together to take part in
celebrations. The biggest difference in celebrations is that
one has to go to work or school while celebrating it.
The real festivities are pushed to the weekend. "We also miss
getting together for prayers and aarti with our families. Not
going to check on our neighbours Ganpati is also something I
really miss," Ruta adds.
New Jersey-based A Kamat celebrates Chaturthi with a big
group that observes all Indian festivals together. However,
having to go to work during the week makes it difficult to
celebrate in the Goan style.
Last year, Kamat celebrated with her Tamil friend from Mumbai
who made an idol of chocolate and later melted it in milk and
donated the milk to an orphanage.
Bupesh Kurade, settled in Singapore, bought his eco-friendly
idol on Wednesday for 25$ from local Hindus settled in the
city-state for generations. Kurade will be celebrating for
one-and-a-half days. He said most people in Singapore choose
to buy organic idols online.
There are many community Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in
Singapore, but they cannot be compared to what one normally
finds in Goa and Maharashtra, barring one that is organised
by the Manahrashtra Mandal, he says.
"It is celebrated at an Indian international school owned by
a Maharashtrian. Many Maharashtrians and Goans take part in
the celebrations there, while others celebrate in their
homes," Kurade says.
The mandal continues its festivities for five days with
rituals and cultural programmes. As the idols are organic,
visarjan is hassle-free and carried out in a local designated
pond, says Shashank Pahade, a Maharashtrian based in
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