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Bonding and devotion – Ganesh Chaturthi has it all

indian family doing ganesh puja or ganesha pujan

As we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi today, let’s have a look at how this festival brings people from far and wide together, about the role of the family members and how they balance between work and Chaturthi. NT BUZZ gets the details

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ

For the Hindu community in Goa, Ganesh Chaturthi – the most awaited festival – has arrived filling the air with festive vibes. Houses and temples come alive with the sounds of the aartis. It is a time when people forget their religious differences, and visit each other’s homes to seek ‘Bappa’s’ blessings and enjoy some delicious sweets.

Coming together for ‘Bappa’

It is an important festival for Goan Hindus who leave no stone unturned to make every Chaturthi a memorable one. Many who still have their ancestral homes prefer to celebrate with their entire family. Panaji-based, Shivani Nadkarni who celebrates Chaturthi in Sanguem at her 150-year-old ancestral house says that Chavath has been celebrated here ever since she can remember. “Though everybody now lives as nuclear families, we keep the tradition going,” she says adding that with the festivities the bond of love amongst the family members keeps them waiting throughout the year.

Sandeep Doifode who lived in his ancestral house in a village called Bandirawada till last year says that it is very important for today’s generation to know about their culture, tradition, rituals, etc. Being a part of a large joint family Siddhesh Bhagat from Aquem Baixo, whose native place is Canacona, says that it’s an occasion where all his cousins and family members come together under one roof, and nothing can be as delightful as this for him.

Every year Lalan Palyekar from Ponda goes to her native place to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi as she feels that it keeps her family connected to their roots. She says: “The environment at our native place is full of nostalgia, family togetherness and positive vibes. The preparations for this festival start almost a week in advance. Most of the male family members get busy in activities such as cleaning and decorating the house while the women make the sweets.”

Also, many NRIs come to their Goan roots to make sure they aren’t missing out on the fun. Sharing what brings them back to Goa to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi Amit Nadkarni who is based in the US for the last 18 years says: “It’s the spirit of the festivities, the warmth of the ancestral home and love amongst family members that pulls us back for Ganesh to Goa.”

Resident of Candolim, Sailee Shirodkar who has been working in UK for five years now, comes back every year for Chaturthi. She says: “It is a big festival for us and ‘Bappa’ resides at our place every year so I come to serve and seek his blessings.”

Celebrations at ancestral house not like nuclear families

The celebrations at one’s ancestral house will definitely be different due to the number of families and thus Nadkarni says: “Around 100 people get together to make the festival grand like never before. It’s only once a year that we get to meet, eat and stay together. Especially singing the Aarti is all filled with loads of fun,” she adds.

Sandeep also agrees that the celebrations differ. He says: “At my ancestral house, we have a very different way of celebrating Chaturthi. We are a huge family. It’s a village that’s just my family (uncles and cousins). So we have folk songs, these songs aren’t written anywhere so you won’t have any documentation. The elders and now my generation too, sing the songs and perform ‘Phugdi’ on them,” adding that the festivities last for either 5 or 7 days and they have these songs being sung throughout these days.

Age matters in the festival

With different age groups in the family, everyone has different duties during the festival. Resident of Ponda, Sangeeta Velingkar explains that the men decorate the pandal with colourful, shinning papers, lights etc and ‘matoli’ with fresh fruits and vegetables and they perform puja and sing Aarti, play ‘Ghumat’, Pakhawaj etc. “Women observe a fast on ‘Hartalika ‘ and perform Gauri puja to pay respect to the mother of Ganesha. They also make rangoli decorations, while children get very excited to bring their favourite Ganapati home.”

Harish Tamankar from Siolim says that in his family, he looks at the decoration aspects, his sister looks after arrangements; his brother is in charge of worshipping while his mother and aunt manage the cooking. Margao-based Priya Shanbag says that each age group performs their part in their own way. “For example, Children are more interested in serving and distributing sweets. Elders especially women are engaged in cooking and middle age group prefers making other arrangements like flower decorations, helping in making sweets, making flower garlands etc. And older people in my family usually sit n supervise and guide/advice.”

Similarly, Sangeeta says that in the early morning all the females engage themselves in cooking and middle aged group prepare sweets. “When each group is involved in doing all the activities, with coordination these works get completed faster and then when guests begin arriving there are people to attend them.” However in Siddhesh’s family age doesn’t matter, he says: “We get along with everyone and do everything together.”

Balance between work and Chaturthi?

Juggling between two activities is always a difficult task but when it comes to managing work and Chaturthi it is not a big deal for people since it comes once a year. Priya says: “This is the time when people can free themselves from all their routine work; and other works can be done later if they are not so important. Also, nobody will refuse if you want to take leave for Ganesh festival because it’s considered important since many ages.” Whereas Siddhesh says that he goes home, does the aarti, has his lunch and then heads back to work as he considers work as worship.

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