"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."  --William Shakespeare

Entries in Hindu (2)


Happy Holi-Days

What a delight today was.

How often do you get to find a new way to celebrate a seasonal holiday? Literally, in this case, a Holi day, which celebration coincided this year in Paris with the Christian Easter.


Thanks to Nona and Popeye, two Indian photographer friends, we were invited over to the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a private park that contains dozens of residence halls for students from all over the world, specifically to the dorm building called Maison de l'Inde.


The occasion? The annual celebration of Holi, a Hindu holiday also known as the Festival of Color, celebrating the arrival of colorful spring, after the monochromatic months of winter. It also commemorates various events in Hindu mythology, but mostly it's an excuse to forget barriers of caste and class, and to get down and funky. Celebrants throw fluorescent colored powders, like turmeric, and drench each other with colored water. One's eventual resemblance to an Easter egg is purely coincidental.

In this case, the revelry and silliness the hundred or so participants engaged in was accompanied by ear-splitting Indian rock music, and the kind of freeform sybaritic dancing that recalled the best days of the old Fillmore Auditorium.


If the multinational Paris celebration also looks suspiciously like college spring break, we won't deny it. The colored powders came out at eleven a.m., and the cases of beer came out about eleven-oh-five. We left about three to come home and process photographs and write this post, but the party was just getting started. If you have a Hindu community near you, be sure and make a friend before next year's Festival of Color. And wear old clothes.


We hope you'll excuse us now, we have to go shower--and have the cameras cleaned.



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.