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Dear readers,

Today, the Ganesha Lord Festival has started in Paris in the 18th district where I live.It is my first festival and it sounds very interesting.

At 9:00 AM, a religious ceremony took place inside a Temple and at 11:00 AM, the parade composed of different cars and groups followed a route from Philippe de Girard street to Marcadet street and came back to the Temple around 3:00 PM.

For this festival, street are sprayed with rose water including saffron. The Ganesh and Murugan cars are pulled by nude feet believers (fideles). Men wear "vesti", long white costume whereas ladies wear "saree", lon coloured piece of fabric. Musicians and "cavadis" porters march past (defiler) on first position. Then, ladies bearing fired camphor presents followed the parade.
On the road, a lot of coconuts are layed so that being broken when the cars arrive.

IMG_2944  IMG_2945 (C) Ceraulen - 2007

IMG_2948 IMG_2949 (C) Ceraulen - 2007

 IMG_2952  IMG_2964 (C) Ceraulen - 2007


** The point of view of a specialist of hindouism about the festival : How to celebrate the great Ganesha festival
From Subhamo Dass (http://hinduism.about.com/od/festivalsholidays/a/ganeshchaturthi.htm)

A life-like clay model of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. The size of this idol may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet.

On the day of the festival, it is placed on raised platforms in homes or in   elaborately decorated outdoor tents for people to view and pay their homage.   The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes life into   the idol amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is the pranapratishhtha.   After this the shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut,   jaggery, 21 modakas (rice flour preparation), 21 durva (trefoil) blades and   red flowers are offered. The idol is anointed with red unguent (rakta chandan).   Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva   Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.

For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha   is worshipped.

On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a   procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the   sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode   in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of all man. All join in   this final procession shouting "Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya"   (O father Ganesha, come again early next year). After the final offering of   coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idol to the river to   immerse it.

The whole community comes to worship Ganesha in beautifully done tents. These   also serve as the venue for free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity   for the poor, dramatic performances, films, devotional songs, etc. during the   days of the festival.
 

SOME WORDS ABOUT GANESHA
Extract from: http://www.angelfire.com/id/croon/india/ganesha.html

GANESHA is easily the most popular god in India and is the one you pray to when launching new projects. On wedding invitations, at street come shrines, in carved doorway and in every temple -- Ganesha is everywhere in the Hindu world. He is worshipped before any venture is started. He is obviously important to Hindus and non-Hindus alike -- the question is, why? There are of course many answers to this question. Perhaps, Ganesha's popularity stems from the fact that he is the most physical of the major gods: Ganesha is the closest to the material plane of consciousness, most able to assist us in our day-to-day life and concerns.
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja. Ganesha's life cycle is broken into eight main incarnations, based on the accounts of the Ancient Hindu classics.

SOME INTERESTING WEBSITE ABOUT GANESHA, HIS LEGEND...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesha
http://www.cix.co.uk/~ganesh/ganesha.htm
http://www.hindunet.org/god/Gods/ganesh/
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week804/belief.html
http://www.indiantemples.com/beliefs/ganesha.html

A GLIMPSE ON ANOTHER BELIEF
** The syamantaka jewel

It is said that anyone who looks at the moon on the night of the Ganesh Chaturthi will be falsely charged with theft or a similar crime. If someone inadvertently sees the moon on this night, he/she may remedy the situation by listening to (or reciting) the story of the syamantaka jewel. This story may be found in the Puranas such as the Bhagavata and the Vishnu. Briefly, Satrajit, who secured a jewel syamantaka from Surya, did not part with it even when Krishna the Lord of Dvaraka, asked for it saying it would be safe with Him. Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by a lion. Jambavan of Ramayana fame killed the lion and gave it to his son to play with. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the jewel.

Krishna, in order to remove the stain on His reputation, set out in search of the jewel and found it in Jambavan's cave, with his child. Jambavan attacked Krishna thinking Him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days, when Jambavan, his whole body terribly weakened from the hammering of Krishna's fists, finally recognised Him as Rama.

I now know You. You are the life in all creatures, virility, grit and strength. You are Vishnu, the Primeval Lord, All-prevailing, the Supreme Lord (of the worlds). (Bhagavata 10.56.26)

He Who built a bridge (across the ocean) that is a standing monument to His fame, set Lanka ablaze, and with His arrows severed the heads of Rakshasas, which fell to the ground.

As repentance for his having fought Krishna, Jambavan gave Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna returned to Dvaraka with Jambavati and the jewel, and returned it Satrajit, who in turn repented for his false accusation. He promptly offered to give Krishna the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as His wife but did not accept the jewel.

In the event one is not even able to listen to or read the story, the following mantra may be recited holding some water in the palm of the right hand. The water is then to be sipped.

A lion killed Prasena; the lion was killed by Jambavan. Don't cry, O dear child! This syamantaka jewel is yours.

Excerpted from an article by Anand Hudli (ahudli@silver.ucs.indiana.edu).

Well, that is it for today!
Talk about another subject soon!

With best wishes,
Ceraulen