Saturday Discoveries

I’ve rediscovered one of the reasons why I love cycling –  I never know what I might see. Deer, wild turkeys, snakes, turtles, an endless variety of roadkill … but today was different.

I was looking for a fun ride to simply enjoy this beautiful autumn day, so I ventured down to the waterfront.  It was a breezy day … the beach was deserted and the lake was churning out some bigger-than-usual waves.

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A short distance into my ride, I encountered a large group of people ahead, singing. Actually it sounded more like chanting.  Curiosity required me to stop and start asking questions of the young boy standing nearby. It turns out that it was the Hindu festival of Ganesha Chaturthi.

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Now, I’m not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have considerable curiosity about different customs and beliefs.  This young chap and some of the others nearby were more than willing to educate me.

This festival honours the birth of Ganesha – the elephant-headed Hindu god – who is worshipped for removing obstacles and bringing good fortune.

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The celebrations – which can vary in length – come to an end when the statue of Ganesha is taken by procession to a large body of water for immersion.  According to the people I talked to, the immersion is symbolic – to discard the celebrants’ problems and life-obstacles … in other words, wiping the slate clean and starting a new year without the burdens of the previous year.

I rather like that concept.  This is a ceremony I could get behind enthusiastically.

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Flowers litter the shore after the submersion of Ganesha and the ‘washing away’ of obstacles.

All I can say is, I continued on my bike ride with a lighter heart and a smile on my face.

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All photos were taken with my Samsung Galaxy.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Around Toronto, Nature, Outdoor Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Saturday Discoveries

  1. nimi naren says:

    Lovely..we celebrate this every year

    Like

  2. beeblu says:

    Fun discoveries. A bike is such a great way to explore.

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  3. Paula says:

    I’m for anything that removes obstacles, lightens the load and gives us a fresh start! Looks like a lovely day for discovery, too. Here’s to our beautiful rituals ~ Great post!

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  4. treerabold says:

    A good reason for a ceremony. I like this idea as well.
    I enjoy learning about different religions and cultures. Thanks for having enough curiosity to learn for all of us!!

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  5. One of the things I enjoy most about you, Joanne, is that you’re the type of person who doesn’t simply pass by life as it’s unfolding around you. There is such a lovely hunger that fuels your curiosity, and in turn, enriches your everyday experiences – and fortunately, all that spreads to your friends and followers.
    What a lovely ceremony to peek inside. Thank you for stopping. Off to hunt down a pachyderm!

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  6. badfish says:

    Hinduism in the West…how cool! In India, they would have been cleansing themselves in the Ganga River. Great photos!!

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  7. Sounds you never go out without something wonderful and interesting happening along the way. This is an interesting topic. Great post. 🙂

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  8. NancyTex says:

    I’m on a mission to buy Ganesha statue for my meditation corner. Buddhas abound, but Ganesha’s are more elusive. Wish I had known about the festival – it sounds quite lovely from your description.

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  9. Mrs. P says:

    Growing up close to San Francisco it’s common to find different religious and life philosophies. Once, there was a Hindu Festival in Golden Gate Park, and although I wasn’t as curious or bold enough to ask questions I did allow myself to listen, mingle and taste the food. I like that some religions allow you to be curious without the expectation of believing.

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  10. hilarymb says:

    Hi Joanne – certainly interesting learning more and thanks for sharing with us. It must have made your day more relaxed – wiping the slate clean sounds an excellent idea … love your photos – cheers Hilary

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  11. thatssojacob says:

    Well look at that. Interesting discovery.

    By the way, you’ve been chosen as one of today’s nine blogs in That’s So Jacob’s Ninth Month Blog Challenge (http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com)! I challenge you to find nine blogs you find interesting and give them a comment to brighten their day…well, eight other blogs and mine 🙂 Copy this message in your comment and enjoy your new blog friends!

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  12. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne I am with you about the wonderful things one encounters when out and about. This festival looks fabulous and I so love the concept! No wonder you were smiling as you rode away.

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    • joannesisco says:

      When we come across something interesting in our travels, we can either stop and investigate or ignore it and continue on. I was usually the person who did the later. As I get older, I’m more inclined to stop and the end result usually makes me smile 🙂

      Like

      • Sue Slaght says:

        I so agree Joanne. Just this evening Dave and I were out for a walk and in the distance we could hear chanting or singing in another language in the distance .A couple kilometers later we were in the middle of an Ethiopian celebration we didn’t understand but it was amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Corina says:

    I too am always curious about different customs and beliefs. This particular one is a wonderful one. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  14. I am also not religious but I find it so interesting – and a comforting reinforcement of our shared human condition – that most (all?) religions have similar rituals. We all would like to be able to discard our problems, tear down the obstacles, and wipe our slates clean. These symbolic ceremonies allow us to do just that.

    Lovely post about your lucky happenstance on such a beautiful fall day!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A beautiful autumn ride, a little education and a bit of letting go. Sounds like a successful Saturday. 🙂
    I’m rather partial to the practice of holding tightly to a small rock, infusing it with all my troubles and then throwing it into the water. It doesn’t change anything but it makes you feel better about it.

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  16. You always seem to find something to get into, don’t you? I can very much imagine that your mother had her hands full when you were small….LOL. A lovely post for a Saturday, Joanne…..you brought that fun cycle right to us, converted it into word form, and even dressed it up with great pix!

    Like

  17. Kind of coincidental that it is so near Yom Kippur which is very similar in the Jewish religion. Glad it seemed to be a cathartic experience for you!

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  18. Lynn says:

    Such a beautiful day to enjoy a ride Joanne. What an interesting ceremony to come across!

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  19. Heyjude says:

    Sounds better than making a New Year’s resolution. I could go for elephant worship. I like elephants and in fact actually have a little Ganesha myself 🙂 perhaps I ought to dunk him in water?

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    • joannesisco says:

      Customs and rituals are so interesting. When I tried to explain this ceremony to Gilles, he couldn’t get past his Catholic upbringing and going to confession.

      It’s not about *sin*, it’s about the other *stuff* that weights us down emotionally. Washing it away every year in a beautiful outdoor ceremony sounds like something that can only make you feel good 🙂

      … and yes, apparently some people just dunk their Ganesha in a bucket of water 😉

      Like

  20. I like that idea of cleansing too. Sounds like a different sort of thing to come across when out and about on a cycle. Lovely post.

    Like

  21. mihrank says:

    such beautiful post and fun to read!

    Like

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