A major, first of its kind Ganesh Utsav in the UK, was held in September 2018. Hundreds of people joined in Oxford’s first Ganesh festival. The event was a grand success and was organised by Oxford Ganesh Seva Samiti.
Again, this year on the weekend of 7-8 September, there will be grand festivities in Oxford, organised by the same organisation, to celebrate Ganesh Utsav.
This year, the celebrations begin at 6pm on Saturday 7 September at the school in Arnold’s Way, Botley with ‘Pran-Pratishtha’, which is the process of bringing in life in the idol by enchanting mantras. Religious rituals with a colourful mix of traditional dresses will be followed by dancing, singing and various other cultural programme for all to enjoy. There will be workshops for children to learn to make small Ganesh idols from clay on Saturday 7th. A free but pure vegeterian Indian tradition meal will be served too.
Ganesh is the lord of intelligence and prosperity and Ganesh Utsav is traditionally a ten-day celebration, which typically falls in August or September and is widely celebrated across India and many other parts of the world. This festival celebrates the elephant-headed god Ganesh’s birthday, who is the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Speaking to Asian Voice, a spokesperson from the organisation said, “We feel Oxford is a hub of education and intelligence, therefore it is obvious choice to hold this event to obtain Lord Ganesh’s blessings. We expect a gathering of around 1000 people from all backgrounds to join.”
On Sunday 8th, there will be a 1.5mile long ‘Visarjan’ (immersion) procession at 4:30pm, along with music and chanting of Vedic hymns, from the Matthew Arnold School to the River Thames in Oxford.
Last year, for the ‘Visarjan’ parade there were more than 100 people. Passersbys in cars paused to have a look and people came out of their houses to join the celebration.
The Times of India reported that the organisers have spent £9000 to export the 5ft tall Lord Ganesh idol from Mumbai to the UK. The eco-friendly idol made out of papier mache by craftsmen in Mumbai has already arrived in the UK. But the organisers are looking to raise more funds for the celelebrations and are still £5000 short. Last year, one Oxford couple, Sesh and Jyoti Parimi, had funded it. A few companies have made donations too. The idol has cost £1,300, according to TOI and the rest of the funds have gone into food, puja items, to hire of a hall, a dhol team and other decorations.
For more information please visit – https://www.ogss.org.uk/