Last Thursday was a public holiday here in Mauritius. It was the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.
After a day at home, we were a bit restless in the afternoon, so we decided to go see the celebrations on the beach of Tamarin Bay.
I had learned from my son’s nanny, who is from the Hindu community, that it is a very popular and joyful celebration for the Marathi community. Prior to the day of celebration, houses are cleaned thoroughly and festivities are prepared. Statues of lord Ganesh, made from earth, are welcomed into the houses while inhabitants fast and pray. These statues cannot be kept inside the houses after the celebrations and they are immersed into the water of rivers or of the sea.
When we arrived at Tamarin Bay, the prayers had already started and there was a lot of people on the beach already. The Marathi were nicely dressed with beautiful brightly colored clothes. Lots of tourists and people from different communities also came to watch the celebrations.
They chanted and prayed in front of the statues, with offerings and burning incense. Then the statues were brought to the sea shore.
One of the statues of Lord Ganesh, who has an elephant head and a human body, was huge. I don’t remember seeing one that big last year.
Slowly, the men carrying the statues walked backwards into the sea. Once the water was deep enough, they dived and let the statues rest in the water where they will melt back into earth.
Once the ritual finished, they went back to their homes to continue the festivities. We stayed a little while more on the beach and had the most gorgeous sunset to finish this beautiful day!
Have you seen a ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ celebration before? Have you seen or taken part in other Hindu celebrations? What do you enjoy the most during these celebrations? Share with us in the comments below.