Indian expats in UAE begin Ganesh Chaturti celebrations

Indian expats in UAE begin Ganesh Chaturti celebrations

Dubai/Sharjah - According to some Hindu devotees, Ganesh's deity is usually invoked at the beginning of any new venture.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 2 Sep 2019, 10:21 PM

Last updated: Tue 3 Sep 2019, 12:28 AM

Indian expats in the UAE have begun celebrations for the Indian festival of Ganesh Chathurthi on Monday, an auspicious day for Hindus that marks the birthday of the deity Ganesh.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated elaborately in the western and southern parts of India. Devotees celebrate the festival by keeping a clay idol of the deity at their homes, perform puja (worship) for 10 days, and then immerse the idol in a water body, usually the sea or a river (visarjan).
According to some Hindu devotees, Ganesh's deity is usually invoked at the beginning of any new venture.
In Maharashtra, the procession is accompanied by song and dance. The ritual see-off is believed to ward off misfortune.
Sandeep Gupte, president of the Maharashtra Mandal in Dubai, said: "Special pujas are being organised at the Sindhi Memorial Hall in Meena Bazaar, Dubai. There will be celebrations for five days, with prayer meetings in the morning and evening." The group also revealed that most residents keep prayer meetings at home.
The Maharashtra Mandal in Abu Dhabi is organising a special prayer function for two days at the Indian Social Centre. The public event is open to all devotees, and over 500 people are expected to attend, according to members of the Maharashtra Mandal.
On Monday morning, several long queues were seen at the temple in Bur Dubai. "People started visiting the temple as early as 4.30am for prayers. There are usually long queues to the temples in the evening as well," said Poonam Raj, a Dubai-based housewife. "The 10-day long celebration started on Monday and will continue till the visarjan," she added.
Devotees offer sweets and other offerings to the deity and purchase clay statues of the deity. Retail outlets such as Choithrams and several small shops in the Bur Dubai temple area have been selling idols of lord Ganesh since mid-August. The shops were also selling packets of offerings and a speciality sweet called modak, a sweet dumpling made of rice flour traditionally filled with coconut and jaggery. "It is considered to be the favourite offering for Ganesh," added Poonam.
"We went to buy the Ganesh idol over the weekend, and the shops were very crowded. Our family got home very late. We have installed the idol in our house and will perform special prayers during the 10 days that we keep it in our house," said Rajesh Godbole, a Dubai-resident.
"We keep the Ganesh idol in our house for three days. We have adorned it, and friends and relatives have been visiting as well. It is a very special occasion for our family and we also make prasad (temple offering), which we distribute after the prayers," she said.

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