Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Goa
Ganesh chaturthi (also known as Vinayaka chaturthi, Ganesha chaturthi) is a festival celebrating the Birthday of Ganesha. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
It is observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) and is celebrated huge in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, where it last for 10 days. The festival is also celebrated in other parts of India, but not as extravagant as Maharashtra. A clay model of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months in advance building up to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi.
On the 11th day, this clay shrine is taken through the streets and is finally immersed in the sea or a river, which symbolizes the taking away of misfortunes. A special dumpling called Modak or Kozhukattai (In Tamil) is served, which is made of rice flour. It is stuffed with jaggery and grated coconut. I come from the south, where we did not usually celebrate this day on a grand scale, mostly we celebrate it eating Modak and offering prayers.
This was the first time that I was in the middle of all the action that was happening on this occasion. We were volunteering in Goa and we were told that Ganesh chaturthi festival celebrations were going to happen that night. We heard loud sounds on the road, so we went rushing to see two trucks playing Ganesh songs and occasionally crazy radio music. There was a huge crowd that was dancing to the tunes, it looked no different from a party in Goa. I was with a few foreigners from the volunteering team. I realised that they were starting to attract a lot of attention.
Soon, some of my friends were dancing along with the locals and we danced for a while before the locals asked us to leave because we were attracting a lot of attention. There were request for selfies and photographs all around us. We had a weird moment when two guys followed us on our way to the hotel and requested to take pictures (Only with the ladies, haha). One of them told us that he was working in the Airport and could help us, and we kept moving.
But other than all that it was a very different experience, I never imagined Ganesh Chaturthi festival to have evolved into a festival with EDM music on the streets of India. To be fair, it did get everyone dancing 😀