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Posts tagged ‘Fête de Ganesh’

1
Sep

La Fête de Ganesh 2014

LA FÊTE DE GANESH, along with the celebrations for the Chinese New Year and the Carnaval Tropical, bring an annual wave of colour and spectacle to the streets of Paris highlighting the city’s cultural diversity.

Indian communities across the world celebrate la Fête de Ganesh at this time of the year and yesterday I went to join the celebrations in Paris.

Fête de Ganesh 2014

The Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple, in rue Pajol

Genesha, the Hindu deity of wisdom, propriety and good fortune, has a temple dedicated to him in Paris, the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple, in rue Pajol in the 18th arrondissement. It was from here that a colourful procession set off yesterday on its tour of the surrounding area.

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Strands of jasmine were on sale everywhere

To experience la Fête de Ganesh is to experience a multi-sensory feast with the colourful costumes and the equally colourful sounds overlayed with wonderfully exotic smells.

Unfortunately, I can’t recreate the exotic smells for you to enjoy but I can share with you this year’s Fête de Ganesh in sounds and pictures and let them tell their own story.

La Fête de Ganesh 2014 in sound:

 

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The Deity Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian art

Fête de Ganesh 2014

Fête de Ganesh 2014

This is the pile of coconuts that you can hear being smashed in my recording

Fête de Ganesh 2014

Fête de Ganesh 2014
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Fête de Ganesh 2014
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Fête de Ganesh 2014
Fête de Ganesh 2014
Fête de Ganesh 2014
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Fête de Ganesh 2014

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Lunch after the parade …  if you can find a seat!  Then the clean up begins …

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3
Sep

La Fête de Ganesh 2012

INDIAN COMMUNITIES across the world celebrate la Fête de Ganesh at this time of the year. Yesterday, I went to join the celebrations in Paris.

Genesha, the Hindu deity of wisdom, propriety and good fortune, has a temple dedicated to him in Paris, the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple, in the rue Pajol. And it was from here that a colourful procession set off on its tour of the surrounding area. As always with these kinds of events perhaps it’s best simply to let the pictures and the sounds tell the story.

Sounds of La Fête de Ganesh:

Sounds of La Fête de Ganesh:

Sounds of La Fête de Ganesh:

Sounds of La Fête de Ganesh:

You can find the sights and sounds of last year’s Fête de Ganesh here.

18
Sep

‘Little Jaffna’ – A Parisian Soundwalk

AT THE END OF AUGUST I made a blog piece about La Fête de Ganesh, the annual festival to celebrate Genesha, the Hindu deity of wisdom, propriety and good fortune. In July, I made a piece about the Passage Brady with its exotic smells and the atmosphere of an Indian bazaar. So yesterday, when I found myself in ‘Little Jaffna’ in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis in the 10th arrondissement, I couldn’t help feeling that, unwittingly, a theme was developing.

Stretching from the Boulevard de Bonne-Nouvelle to the Boulevard de la Chapelle, the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis is a mélange of Turkish, African, and Indian communities. Yesterday, it was the stretch from the Metro station, La Chapelle, to the railway station, Gare du Nord that particularly interested me and it was along here that I did a Soundwalk.

A Soundwalk in ‘Little Jaffna’:

This part of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis is quite distinctive.  It would be easy to call it, “Little India”, but that would be an over-generalisation, even though one of the shops bears that name. The fact is, that what we often refer to as the Indian community here comprises a far wider diversity than just “Indian”.

Of the immigrants originating from the Indian sub-continent who have settled in Paris, only a minority are natives of India proper. Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Punjabis, and Sri-Lankan Tamils form culturally and socially distinct groups in Paris. Something I didn’t know until recently, is that the largest these communities is the Tamil.

Most of the Parisian Tamils fled Sri-Lanka as refugees in the 1980’s during the violent civil war. Over time, they have thrived in a close-knit community in this part of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. The soubriquet, “Little Jaffna”, comes from the name Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, the area from which most of these people are descended.

I began my Soundwalk at the Metro station, la Chapelle, where the African and Indian communities meet.  The distinctive sounds of “M’Ice, M’Ice, M’Ice” and “Vum Ice, Vum Ice, Vum Ice”, are the African ladies outside the metro station busily trying to sell ice cubes from plastic bags tucked away in shopping trolleys. They are a common feature in all the African communities in Paris but I’ve yet to see any of them actually making a sale.

Passing through the entrance to the Metro station, crossing the road and walking towards the Gare du Nord, I leave Africa behind and enter into the world of the Indian sub-continent with all its colour, exotic smells and sounds.

A greengrocer is selling exotic fruit and vegetables outside his shop whilst inside, the checkouts are working at a frantic pace.

An Halal butcher, surrounded by colourful sari and textile shops, is chopping meat. Conversation abounds.

This is so much more than a place to shop; this is a place to see and be seen, a place to meet friends, neighbours and family, a place savour and to enjoy. This is “Little Jaffna” and these are its sounds.

28
Aug

La Fête de Ganesh 2011

PARIS IS NOT JUST for the French, other communities live here too. And while the French celebrate their Fête Nationale in style and the Chinese in Paris celebrate their new year with fabulous displays of colourful dancing lions and dragons accompanied by endless firecrackers, today it was the turn of the Indian community to have their celebration with La Fête de Ganesh.

Genesha, with his elephant’s head to make him easily recognisable, is the Hindu deity of wisdom, propriety and good fortune and a temple is dedicated to him in Paris, the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple, in the rue Pajol. And it was from here that today’s colourful procession set off around this part of the 18th arrondissement. The women dressed up, the men dressed down and a good time was had by all.

So let’s celebrate the sights and sounds of today’s Fête de Ganesh.

The sounds of La Fête de Ganesh:

And after a long, hard day …