Saturday, 19 September 2009

Ganesha Festival

We were honoured and privileged to be part of a Ganesha Festival today. We are not Hindus and were under no obligation to partake or convert - we were welcomed to observe, partake to the extent we felt comfortable and generally immerse ourselves in what was a spectacular occasion.

When we arrived we were served breakfast. It was a rather spicy sort of porridge made with rice as opposed to oats. I think it was called pongo. It had nuts and spices in it. There was a pale green puree on the side which looked like pistachio ice cream but wasn't. As much as we would have liked to have tucked in, it was very spicy. Nana could probably have managed it later in the day but not for breakfast. Hermione and I couldn't manage it at all - but then we never order from the 'hot' section of the curry menu either *grin*.

After breakfast we observed prayers and the calling in of various deities. Incense burning and bell ringing. Offerings were made to Ganesha.


Following this formal part there was singing and music.

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There was a workshop running alongside the other happenings where children could make Ganesha elephants. This is Hermione's creation. I don't know about you but I think it's a miraculous transformation of an old plastic milk bottle!


Lots of fabulous dancing.


At lunch time we had various spicy dishes, (non of which were familiar despite the fact that I consider Indian to be one of my favourite kinds of food), followed by an Indian dessert. I think Hermione was surprised to learn that what we think of as a traditional Indian dish may not necessarily be what Indian people eat - it's adapted to our taste.

I loved the dessert and asked a lady how it was made. She told me it was rice, cream, fruits and a special kind of brown sugar which is in lumps! I'm not sure I will be able to recreate it from that, but may certainly make further enquiries as to this brown lumpy sugar, as from what she said I think that is an important ingredient.

What a day! I am so pleased that we were able to go along and experience this. I was also pleased for the people who organised the festival as it was their aim to open it up to non Hindus, to share their beliefs and culture and they certainly did this today. It would have been nice if there had been more folks like ourselves there - we were very much in the minority - but hopefully in time people will come to see that it is about sharing as opposed to converting and will go along and have the special experience we had today.

This has restored my enthusiasm for introducing my family to different faiths and cultures. Some of you guys may recall my efforts at a household Diwali evening last year - yes the one where Craig and Hermione thought that would be great providing it didn't clash with the X Factor *sigh*.

Last but not least, thanks to Jude, who I know calls by here occasionally. If you had not mentioned it I would not have known about it!

1 comment:

hippy mama said...

sounds really good, love H's creation :0)