Paris Play loves a holiday.
And a parade.
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.