26 février 2024

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Photographie de Philippe Langonnet

As every year since 1996, the god Ganesh is honored in Paris.

As every year since 1996, the god Ganesh is honored in Paris.

The Ganesh Festival celebrates the Indian god with the head of an elephant during a colorful procession in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. This year, the event took place on Sunday, August 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. That day, we celebrated the birthday of the child God whose father cut off his head and replaced it with that of an elephant.

Son of the deities Shiva and Parvati, Lord Ganesh is the symbol of love and knowledge. The Hindus believe that this elephant-headed God-child is the origin of the world and of all life events.

Procession route

At 10:30 a.m., the procession left the Temple of Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam, 17 rue Pajol (75018) where the ceremonies began at 9 a.m. He walked the streets of the district (rue Pajol, rue du faubourg St Denis, rue Marx Dormoy and rue du Département) to the sound of drums, nagashvaram (a popular but rare wind instrument in Carnatic music, classical music from India of the South) and flutes. Male and female dancers, dressed in shimmering saris and suits, carried the traditional kavadi (wooden arch decorated with peacock feathers) on their shoulders. The lead dancers carried earthenware pots on their heads, in which burned camphor, known for its purifying power.

Pipers, nageshvaram and drummers led the procession, along which coconuts were broken.

The chariot, approximately 5 m high, pulled by 2 large plant fiber ropes of 20 meters each, housed the statue of Ganesh and was entirely covered with red and white fabrics decorated with garlands, fresh flowers and bunches of bananas. , coconut and areca leaves. Singers and musicians followed the float, while blessed offerings, sweets and drinks were distributed along the route, as offerings to Ganesh, according to custom.

Coconut ritual

The ritual of the coconut, a sacred fruit in Indian culture, brings good luck and prosperity and takes place throughout the parade. The fruit is broken to free itself from its ego, in order to give way to its deep nature.
The shell symbolizes the illusion of the world, the flesh the individual Karma and the water the human ego. When you break the coconut, you offer your heart to Ganesh; the water of the hundreds of nuts is then spread on the roadway as Ganesh’s chariot passes.

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