Hindus in Central Trinidad joined with millions of Hindus worldwide to celebrate Ganesh Utsav yesterday.
Members of the Felicity Ganesh Utsav Festivals Committee and devotees make their way along Cacandee Road in a procession as the festival comes to an end.
The ten-day festival to celebrate the birth of Lord Ganesh culminated with the immersion of clay murtis or statues of the elephant-headed God into bodies of water symbolising Ganesh’s homeward journey to Mount Kailas, the abode of Shiva and Parvati, his parents.
Devotees walk with a coconut in a clay jar at Ganesh Utsav celebrations at Felicity on Friday.
Ganesh Utsav has picked up pace in Trinidad and Tobago in the last two decades. The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop celebrations, as devotees opted instead to immerse the statues into pools and ponds of water when visits to the beach and rivers were banned.
Members of the Felicity Ganesh Utsav Festivals Committee carry a large murti of Lord Ganesh along Cacandee Road
Celebrations began early in Felicity, Chaguanas, yesterday. Felicity Ganesh Utsav Festivals Committee members joined hands around 5 am and pulled a large chariot of Lord Ganesh through the area before taking it to the Cunupia River, near the Lakan Karriah Cremation site.
Devotees make offerings to Lord Ganesh on the banks of the Cunupia River.
Devotees offered coconuts, fruits, parsad, vermillion and milk, along with devotional prayers to the murti. Following this, it was then lifted using a crane on the back of a truck to immerse it into the river.
Devotees walk with coconuts in clay jar balanced on their heads at Ganesh Utsav celebrations in Felicity yesterday
At Cunupia, members of the Ganesh Mandir of Esmeralda Road used an excavator to immerse their murti into an agricultural pond on property owned by Gopie Goolcharan at David Toby Trace, Cunupia.
Goolcharan said during the pandemic, he was approached by religious groups to use the pond. Goolcharan, being a devout Hindu, saw this as a higher calling to assist the community in celebrating facets of the faith.
Devotees make offerings to Lord Ganesh on banks of the Gopie Family Pond at David Toby Trace.
Romella Maharaj, executive member for the Ganesh Mandir, said devotees are only too happy to worship without restrictions.
“As a society, we are asking Bhagwan Ganesh Ji to help our society. There are many people in our society who do not have a meal, there are those who are affected by crime and other illnesses, we ask Ganesh Bhagwan to help everyone,” he said.
Maharaj said this time of the year can be referred to as “Pooja Season,” where Hindus move into various religious occasions as they connect and become closer with God.