Fête de Ganesh 2019

‘Fête de Ganesh, Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam Temple, Rue Pajol, 2019.’ Photo: Sumugan Sivanesan

The annual Fête de Ganesh to celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi (the popular elephant-headed deity’s birthday!) occurred on Sunday 1 September 2019. Beginning in the morning in a small shop front temple on Rue Pajol, the parade takes over the streets of La Chapelle AKA ‘Litte Jaffna’. The high street, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, is closed to accommodate the worshipers, tourists and gawkers.

I was pleased to learn that some of my photos had been added to the Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam Temple website.

I haven’t had the time to elaborate on my notes, so here they are as raw reminders to be read like bad poetry.

The curtain drop drama
Men heave-ho the statues on heavy wooden trunks
Tourists and photographers
A drummer wild-eyed in a trance
Kundalini Guy
Village style in an urban setting
Run by Lankans
The Mauritian connection to Africa
Temple bros with rudeboy haircuts and prison tats
The Alliance Françiase in Jaffna
Horsey Costume policing the crowd
Milk spinners
Kadavi carriers
Women balancing lamps on the heads singing devotional songs
Men spraying devotees with saffron water from tanks mounted on trucks
Gutters overflowing with smashed coconuts
Maison de Eelam
What happens at the end, do the statues get put to sleep?
It all emanates from a small shopfront temple with a cardboard cut-out Vamina
Keeping it local
Tweens dancing to Chollywood-Chutney-Soca with cowboy hats

My mother sent this message in response to my photos:

There is a song sung in South Indian temples at the end of pooja which roughly translates like this:
Let the clouds bring rain
Let the land be fertile
Let the king rule righteously
Let all beings live without want
Let the Dharmas of the 4 Vedas prosper
Let yagnas be performed with devotion
Let the Saiva tradition of worship flourish throughout the world!


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