PHOTOS by DAVE PERSAD
GANESH Utsav, an Indian festival brought to Trinidad and Tobago by indentured labourers more than 150 years ago, was this week celebrated by Hindus throughout the country.
The ten-day worship to Lord Ganesh, remover of obstacles, culminated with a procession, where Ganesh murtis were immersed in the sea yesterday.
Hindus sang praised to Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed God, as they walked to the water courses and coasts from daybreak.
The procession was held in St Margaret's, Claxton Bay, Debe, Penal, South Oropouche and other communities.
The event followed nights of worship, conducted at mandirs across the country.
Pundit Khemraj Vyas, secretary of the pundit purshard, said Lord Ganesh was one of the manifestations of divinity. "Hinduism preaches that there is only one God and this God takes on many different forms front time to time. Ganesh is one such form. His birth is described as taking place in this particular month," he said.
Vyas said Hindus observe the birth of Lord Ganesh with a ten-day festival.
He said a murti of the Hindu God is made out of clay and ceremonies are performed. He said offering are made to the murti, including water, coconut and flowers as devotees wave the sacred light (aarti).
"Hindus perceive (Lord Ganesh) as the remover of obstacles and the Lord of beginnings. The worship of Lord Ganesh is very important," he said.
Vyas said the murtis are usually broken up and immersed in the water resource as a means of washing away difficulties.
Ganesh Utsav or Chaturthi is the main festival of Mumbai, India.
A huge procession called Dance Ganesh also takes place though the streets of Mumbai on the last day, complete with music, fire dancers, lights, and thousands of worshippers.
On the last day of the festival known as "Ananta Chaturdasi" the murtis are paraded through the streets, accompanied by singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean or other bodies of water.
Hindus believe that Ganesh comes to earth during the auspicious days each year.
The Hindu festival season begins with Ganesh Utsav and will continue with Pitri Paksha, a period during which offerings are made to the soul of departed ancestors. When Pitri Paksha ends, the festival of Ram Leela would be celebrated and would be followed by Divali, the Festival of Lights.