Don't miss Ganesh Chaturthi In Mauritius! The festival is celebrated all over the island. The beloved Hindu God with the elephant head is a popular deity with fascinating symbols. You are welcome to join the celebrations. Don’t miss the attraction!
Offerings to Ganesh
During the festival you’ll come across processions of devotees happily dancing and chanting on the roads. You’ll see colourful effigies of Lord Ganesh on small platforms being carried with great enthusiasm. The sound of drums, cymbals and bells fills the air. Other groups will soon join the celebrations and they’ll all walk towards the sea or river.
The effigies which are made of clay will be gently immersed into the water where they will disintegrate.
You have just watched Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius. You are fascinated by the festival. But what does it all mean? Why are these beautiful statues immersed in water? Looks a bit strange …
I have compiled a short explanation for you so you’ll understand what’s going on and discover our culture.
The beloved Ganesh was assigned to water which is one of the five elements of the universe. That’s why the statues are made of clay. They’ll dissolve in liquid so Ganesh can return to his element. Until the following year when he’ll come back to mother earth and lead another Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius!
Devotees bring a clay statue of Lord Ganesh to their home where the deity will be worshipped with daily offerings of delicacies. Morning puja or payers complete the rituals. Ganesh is dressed and bathed and taken care of like a member of the family.
Ganesh at home ...
After 10 days it’s time to say goodbye and carry the statue of Lord Ganesh to the water in colourful processions. The clay effigies will be gently immersed in the sea or river and slowly disappear.
As usual legends abound. The most popular tells the story of Goddess Parvati who is the consort of Lord Shiva. One day when Parvati was having a bath she rubbed some dust and oil from her body and created the shape of a boy. She then infused life into the shape and Ganesha was born.
Parvati told her son to guard the door when she has a bath. Lord Shiva came to visit and Ganesh would not let him in. How was Ganesh supposed to know Shiva was his father? So he fought with Shiva. Ganesh’s head was severed in the ensuing scuffle.
As you can imagine Goddess Parvati was very upset. She asked Lord Shiva to bring her son back to life. Shiva sent his men to look for a head replacement for Ganesh. The brief was to bring the head of the first living creature they find facing North which is a direction associated with wisdom. The rest is history
The elephant head symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. An elephant does not bypass obstacles, it removes them and walks ahead. Devotees believe that worshipping Ganesh will bring these qualities to them and remove their difficulties so they can achieve their goals.
His big ears means Ganesh listens to the prayers of his devotees.
Have a look at his four hands. See what they hold?
When he is seated Ganesh has one foot on the ground and the other resting on his knee. It’s not because he feels more comfortable in this pose … It means the wise person lives on earth without being attached to anything material.
What about Ganesh who sits on a rat? Well there is a deep meaning to this as well. Rats represent desire and greed. They keep nibbling all day long, searching and even storing food. They symbolize our desires. Once they are fulfilled we want to replace them. We keep looking for more.
Ganesh sits on a rat to control it and in the process shows we should also control our desires.
Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius will take place on 6 September 2016 and 26 August 2017. These days are public holidays.
We have many celebrations throughout the year. With so many religions it’s not surprising. Have a look at the best festivals and take your pick from the main ones. As a tourist it would be nice to combine one of our cultural events with your holiday. Come and celebrate our rich heritage with us!
I have also prepared a calendar with a list of national public holidays including the most important festivals and religious celebrations.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Ganesh ‘The Lord of Beginnings’ for all Hindus. The beloved god of wealth and wisdom is celebrated with lots of love during Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius.