Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, the 10-day festivities marked annually at this time of the year, have taken on an added dimension for British Hindus amid the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Religious festivals have had to be scaled down over the past 18 months due to the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic and the many lockdowns. Most organisations resorted to virtual celebrations last year.
However, with the vaccination drive showing much promise, communities were able to mark this special festival with family and loved ones in a somewhat less locked down manner. However, making the most of the added virtual dimension, all major organisers went live from their social handles and websites, making the festivities accessible to devotees of Lord Ganesha the anywhere in the world.
Also, in India, celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi went virtual at the , enabling devotees from all parts of the world to take part.
Here is a snapshot of the festivities in the UK, which included homage, cultural events, and good food.
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Hounslow Ganeshotsav Mandal, London, went all out bring joy and enthusiasm back into society. This year marks HGM’s 14th Ganesh Festival Celebration. Along with the traditional way of celebration and Puja, the organisation arranged several online global contests like fancy dress and family traditional wear contests, karaoke and singing competitions, kid’s drawing and writing competitions, and much more with fantastic prizes to raise spirit.
Their immersion ceremony was held at Thames Sailing Club, Surrey, with much grandeur.
Ganesh Utsav at Gita Bhavan Hindu Temple, Manchester is being celebrated with Puja, Lunch, Dinner and various cultural events, including songs, dance, storytelling, drama, and recitation. The festival started on September 10 and will continue till September 16. The unique feature of this Ganesh Utsav is that different Indian communities get to bring their individual cultural essence on each day of the festival. Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada communities in Manchester arrange the pujas and cultural programs each day of this festival.
The immersion of the idol is to be carried out at Liverpool, and the ceremonial journey to immersion, including a coach, ferry and lunch, can be experienced at a ticketed price.
Scottish Ganesh Festival, Edinburgh, organised by the Association of Marathi Regional Art and Traditions (SAMRAT), was unique in its own right. Along with worshipping the God, they had also arranged for exclusive cultural programmes on all three days of the Puja. There were workshops on making ‘modak’, the signature sweet for the Ganapati festival. The ticket-free event culminated at the Immersion procession ‘Tandav’ with a live symphony of Lezim, Dhol, and Tasha.
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Shree Jagannath Temple, UK – City of Bath is holding their annual Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration from September 10 to September 19. The event highlighted ‘Ganpati Staphana’, ‘hommam’ and ‘Ganpati Bisarjan’.
Sri Padmavathi Srinivasa Kent Hindu Temple had a three-day-long celebration starting from September 10 at the Meopham Village Hall. It included the worship of Vishnu Sahashranam Chanting, singing and dinner.
Siddhi Vinayak, Vighnaharta, or Ganapati Bappa – are the many names associated with Lord Ganesha, the son of Goddess Durga, who is called on to pray for one thing – the removal of all negativities from this world, all obstacles from our life.
“Vakratunda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa.”
[Oh Lord, with a curved trunk and aura like millions of Sun, please make all our work obstacle-free, forever.]
It is said that chanting this mantra invokes Lord Ganesha to remove every obstacle and helps achieve wisdom, good luck, prosperity, and success in all endeavours.
And this year, it takes on an added meaning as we hope to emerge from the ravages of a global .