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Traditional Giddha, Punjabi Bhangra and Bollywood Dancing..
Date: Satutrday April 20th, 2013 7:30 PM onwards
Venue: ASHIANA at Global Mall
Tickets: $30 in advance and $40 at GATE (Kids below 10 years – $10) Toddlers are free.
Click here to buy tickets online
Presenting DJ: KHAL NAYAK, Shyam Brambhatt
Gowri Puja is conducted the day before Vinayaka Chaturti. While Hindus generally worship at home during all festivals, community worship is also in vogue particularlry with Gowri and Ganesha. Legendary freedom fighter and activist Bala Gangadhara Tilak ( from eartwhile Maharashtra State) popularized the community worship. It got extended to all of South India where eleborate celebrations are seen for months with spiritual discourse and performance by renowned artists acrosss the country. We miss the festivities of India, but it is celebrated with great devotion in most NRI’s homes and in temples in USA. It is a treat to watch Bala Vihar kids perfom Ganesha Puja at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta and other temples.
Above: Picture of clay idols of Ganesha and Gowri sold in the streets of Bangalore
Photo From: www.sanjevani.com
Sankranti (the day Sun enters the constellation of Makara, Capricorn Zodiac), in the month of Makara is celebrated as an auspicious day and the beginning of the Uttarayana Punyakala. In South India it is celebrated as the Harvest festival Pongal, where special Pongal dish is cooked. Sweets, sugarcane, sesame seed, coconut mixture is shared with friends and families. It is a joyous time for young moms and kids to dress up and meet all the relatives and friends.
Wish you all very Happy Sankranti and Pongal! Pongal or Sakranti event is celebrated by Indian associations and at homes across USA.
UN Award for SWAGAT
Gujarat State wins coveted 2010 United Nations Public Service Awards among Asia Pacific Country submissions. The award is for the category “Improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness”. The services is called SWAGAT which stands for State-Wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology Chief Minister’s Office, Government of Gujarat.
It was fun growing up in India, where girls gathered together in groups to worship “Gowri”, the boys prepared to worship “Ganesha” the next day. Each and every house brought their own “Ganesha Idol”, decorated the pedestal and the worship areas in many creative ways.
Our religion is not based on community worship but individual worship “one on one” between you and the GOD. However our customs bring the community together while allowing an individual to invite GOD to their homes and heart to worship with whatever they can afford to do.
As kids it was fun to go around and collect all types of leaves and flowers, especially 21 grass blades that are near and dear to “Ganesha”. This fun filled attitude of treating GOD as your friend & savior instills spirituality and limits your ego. Be it decorating, cooking, singing, dancing or showing hospitality, it is all a selfless devotion. Worship is performed through “Shodasha Upachara”, a 16 step process starting with cleaning the external environment, your body, mind and spirits , inviting GANESHA to your house, invoking HIS presence in the IDOL, cleaning HIS body, feet, offering clothes, perfumes, colorings, sacred rice, leaves & flowers, showing light etc. You treat HIM as your ultimate guest by chanting HIS glory and offering all that you have lovingly collected. It is more important to offer your talents & skills be it music, dance or the nice sweet MODAKA specially prepared for the worship. At the end of the worship it is the custom to respect the priest, teachers and elders and receive part of the offerings as “Prasad”.
Accepting “prasad” is an important part of the Hindu worship. It signifies that life is a WORSHIP. You do every thing in the spirit of service to GOD and accept what comes back to you with complete satisfaction as “Prasad”, the grace of GOD. If you clamor for a bigger piece of Modaka or snatch it from another person, it defeats the whole purpose of the worship. Message is pure and simple “offer all you have and accept what you get” with humility. Thank GOD for bringing us in to this world and for our sustenance. This selfless form of worship and offering of your talents is the reason why music, dance, paintings and all other art forms have received patronage and survived over the ages throughout India and now in other countries as well.
People fast till the worship is complete. After receiving “Prasad”, generally a hearty breakfast follows with “idli” and chutney which are particularly enjoyable. Lunch with “Payasam” is a delight. Greater fun is in the afternoon going house to house and temple to temple all over the town to see unique decorations of Ganesha and worship him with the sacred rice you carry with you. You can visit any household in town and most of them invite kids and offer some “sweet” or “dish” to relish.
As kids roam through the city till the night, elders prepare for the evening worship. You are advised not to watch the “MOON” who is conspicuously visible on that evening on the eastern skies. It is said that if you watch the MOON that day, you will end up getting accused during the year for a mistake that you did not commit. This is believed to have started when Ganesha cursed MOON for laughing, while looking at his tummy. If you end up watching the “MOON” and like to avoid unwarranted “blame” in the year, you need to listen to Samantapokhyana. It is a story of Krishna who had watched the MOON on Ganesha’s birthday and was falsely accused of killing a cousin while accompanying him on a trip to the forest. His cousin was wearing “Samantaka Mani”, a rare jewel during the expedition and every one thought Kirshna killed him for the greed of this rare jewel. But in reality this cousin was lost in the jungle and killed by a bear and not by Krishna. The whole story goes on how Krishna worked hard to clear his name.
During the evening people worship Ganesha again, treat all invitees and passers by and read the story of Samantakopakhyana. Many times as kids go house to house all through evening, they sit still and listen to the story at one place or the other.
Some times GANESHA will stay for a few days at home, in which case daily worship will be offered. But in most cases as soon as all the kids are back at home during the night, Ganesha idol is shaken to symbolize “sending off” the GOD. The clay idol is then put in a plate and the elder in the family carries the plate, while the young one keeps ringing the bell and walk together in a procession chanting Ganesha Stotra. In small towns in India, you may see thousands of people walking with their Ganesha Idol and ringing bells walking towards the water pond. Final worship will be offered to Ganesha one last time and the idol will be sailed off into the water.
“Ganapati Boppa Morya”
Most towns in Southern India, will have month long public ceremonies, including the best artists performing in city centers thanks to the generous support of the local merchants and other people.