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Happy Birthday, Ganesha!

Paris Play loves a holiday.

And a parade.

And myth.

So a Paris holiday parade in honor of a mythological diety, particularly a diety like Ganesha, the elephant-headed populist hero who is the Remover of All Obstacles, the god of all new beginnings, of the intellect, of good luck, and of creative artists, sends us into ecstasy.



We are not alone.

Paris has Europe's third-largest Hindu community, centered at the border of the hardscrabble tenth and eighteenth arrondissements, near two major railyards, Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est. Once a year, they (Hindu Indians and the Hindu Sri Lankan Tamil community) have a party to celebrate Ganesha, and all Paris comes. There's singing, dancing, poetry, chariot-dragging, and tons of food--coconuts, bananas, mangos, rice, curries--all manner of food and colorful spices, because Ganesha (note the belly) loves to eat. Men carry entire trees on their heads, and women, burning incense pots.



Flip through our photo album, and join with us in celebrating Ganesha, one of the most widely worshipped gods of the Hindu pantheon; Hinduism is the world's third largest religion, behind Christianity and Islam. Lean close to your computer and inhale the fragrance of jasmine garlands. 







Paris is a clean metropolis, and even on Sundays, the city crews are waiting to sweep up the parade residue, including the remains of piles of tumeric coated coconuts, which are broken open on the streets to feed one and all. Happy birthday, Ganesha, and may your blessings rain on all Paris Play readers.  



If you'd like to see a high-resolution slideshow of our Ganesha's Birthday photos, there's one here.



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Reader Comments (9)

so colorful-so fun - and by the picture of the young boy noisy -- A great time for sure.

Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 0:06 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy S

Ganesha, with so many elephant memories in all those heads... we better not forget your birthday. You are everything a God should be.

Mmmmm - what sumptuous sights. How loud was it? (the little one holding his ears) Even after the cleaning, do the streets still smell of tumeric the next day ?

(tumeric and coconut huh ? Think i will seek some out right now. Order the Ganesha Special somewhere )

We need more ancient ritual in our lives in America. We need more festivals that aren't just commercial ploys.

Beautiful stuff

Steve DJ

Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 21:25 | Unregistered CommenterSteve De Jarnatt

Sumptuous, sensuous, a swirl of blessing over us all! Thank you Kaaren & Richard for making our world more alive and enlivened by your passionate intelligences...your seeing, tasting and listening have sent those jasmined, garam'd fragrances all around the world!xxxxxxJudyth

Monday, September 5, 2011 at 6:08 | Unregistered CommenterJudyth Hill

Dear Kaaren,

Thanks for this wonderful gallery of views of the Ganesh parade. I take heart from his power. And from the power of your generosity in giving me these wonderful gifts.


Monday, September 5, 2011 at 10:34 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Moody

Joy! Thank you for sharing Ganesha blessings. What a delightful synthesis of ancient ritual in modern times. I smiled the entire way through this journal. Golden coconut mounds. Airborne bare feet of dancing men. The array of colors. I'm still smiling.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 4:47 | Unregistered CommenterMarguerite Baca

oooh, lush and lovely and unexpected! Ganesha comes to Paris. He's my guy, the god of new beginnings. So fun to revel in the smells, sights, sounds and color of India on the streets of Paris. The artist in me is jumping for joy. Maybe I'll dust my latest sculpture in turmeric.

Sistah Jane

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 16:54 | Unregistered CommenterJane Kitchell

Thank you Betsy, Steve, Judyth, Bruce, Marguerite and Jane.

Ganesha has been raining so many blessing on us (including your wonderful comments and wishes) we've barely had the time to keep up. May you all be dusted with turmeric and basted until you're ready to be served. In all senses of the word.


--R & K

Friday, September 9, 2011 at 19:35 | Unregistered CommenterRichard and Kaaren

Oh, I just LOVED this! A celebration for all of the senses... what beauty and joy! Ganesha is a favorite of mine, too. And you have honored him by sharing his day with us through your beautiful photos and words.

I agree with Steve that it would be lovely in our American culture to experience and have a deep connection with rituals that are not turned shallow by tacky commercialism. (This was one of Joseph Campbell's concerns, no? How lost we become without them?) But we can get a delicious taste of just such a celebration here, so thank you! May Ganesha continue to bless you...


Friday, September 9, 2011 at 21:10 | Unregistered Commenterdawna

Dear Dawna,

Thank you! Rituals: we need them. And if our culture lacks them, we have to invent them.

We think we"ll start a Two Hours a Day Club for artists: you practice your art two hours a day (minimum) and can only stay in the club if you do. (Art as sacred ritual.)

Now what are the appropriate foods to accompany this? I'm going to muse on that. Peaches with yogurt? A nip of coffee?

All you generous-hearted creative ones feel close to Ganesha, we've noticed.


Kaaren & Richard

Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 15:42 | Unregistered CommenterKaaren

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