Trip to the Ganesh Hindu Temple to Celebrate Diwali

After exploring Ganesh and Jambhala in the galleries, Teen Programs took a very special trip to the Ganesh Hindu Temple in Queens to celebrate Diwali with Hindu families.  The temple was covered in hundreds of lights from Christmas light garlands to votives.  Families were there dressed in their finest clothes.  Hindus believe that during puja, or worship, the god is present in the statue, so they treat the statues as if they were live gods.  All the statues were clothed and “fed” by wither leaving food or actually pouring food onto them.  For example, we saw the Brahmin priest pouring coconut milk, juice and other liquid foods on a statue.  The statues were also covered in garlands of flowers.  During the ritual, families were singing, chanting, offering coins, the preist was waving fire to the devotees and the devotees were symbolically accepting the warmth of the fire.  We were struck by how sensual the whole experience was: it seemed that many senses were incorporated.  We felt very lucky to be at the temple during this special time of year with people all over NYC who celebrate light winning over darkness.  It was a beautiful ceremony.

The Buddha