Every year, on the fourth day of the waxing moon during the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, people flock to the streets of India to celebrate the birth of the elephant-headed god Ganesha in what is known as the Ganesha Chaturthi, or the great Ganesha festival.

Following 10 days of worship, hundreds of thousands of idols are submersed in rivers during the day of Anant Chaturdashi, as worshippers bid their farewell to Ganesha until the next celebration.

Bringing Ganesha Festival to Cayman

In recent years the spectacular celebration, which draws crowds of millions in India, has made its way over to the Cayman Islands. Last year, Shilpa Tagalpallewar, a local artist and henna practitioner, organized Cayman’s own Ganesha Festival, which took place at St. Ignatius’ Loyola Hall. It was the perfect facility to emulate the traditional Pooja and Aarti ceremonies.

Following the success and positive response to last year’s event, Tagalpallewar has organized the second iteration of the festival, which will be taking place on Sunday at St. Ignatius’ Loyola Hall once again.

Like last year’s festival, this year’s celebration will include a variety of fun and entertaining activities to accompany the religious festivities. After the traditional Pooja and Aarti ceremonies, which include a musical procession and the offering of lit candles, traditional Hindu dances will take place, and a grand feast of customary Indian food will be provided for all to enjoy.

Not just a religious festival

Despite the traditional Indian and religious elements of the festival, Tagalpallewar has made the inclusiveness of the event imperative. Although ethnic Indian dress is required to attend, she said, “I don’t want [the Ganesha Festival] to be a religious event,” and that she has “non-Indian friends [that] are interested in coming.”

She hopes that the event will be more of a way for people from all walks of life to come together and converse. Above the religious aspects of the festival, Tagalpallewar believes that it is a spiritual event, and a get-together that allows people, no matter their religion or race, to connect with each other while enjoying the evening.

In addition to this, the proceeds from the entrance cost will be donated to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, which provides a safe place for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Tagalpallewar hopes that the event will continue to grow, bringing together more people, and continue to be a fundraiser that will benefit the local community.

Adult tickets are $15 and tickets for children under 10 are $5. Tickets are available at Southern Spice, Shop Right, Treats, and Out of the Bluz. The event runs from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, contact Shilpa at 927-1763, or Dr. Pankaj at 526-2147. Find the Indian Cayman Society on Facebook at www.facebook.com/indiancaymansociety.

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