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HMM Ganesh Festival 2017


by Amey Wakde
HOUSTON (09/09/2017) – Houston Marathi Mandal (HMM) celebrated the most awaited Ganesh Festival at VPSS Haveli on September 9th, 2017. More than 720 devotees dressed in colorful traditional Indian attire attended the event to immerse themselves into a celebration of a new beginning through display of art and culture, song and dance. HMM celebrates Ganesh Festival on an annual basis and this year was even more important for the Houston community that had just witnessed the wrath of nature. The community utilized the power of collective consciousness and prayed together to Lord Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacle (Vighnaharta) and the God of Beginnings, urging him to restore prosperity and allow people to create a new happy chapter in their life. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
The celebration started at 4PM with an ornate palanquin procession shouldered by two devotees and accompanied by drummers who played percussion instruments, Dhol and Tasha. Devotees, that also included the young enthusiasts, accompanied the procession with their beautiful Lezim dance. As we entered the event hall one could see the beautiful decoration of mountains that resembled the Mansarovar; under which the Ganesh idol was placed. Hats off to Trupti Nag for her wonderful contribution in making thAll Postse abode for the festive idol. Once the devotees gathered inside the hall, people paid their respect to both the nations by singing the US and Indian national anthems. Mandar Phadke gave a welcome speech and the HMM President, Anjou Sathe-Keller, provided updates on the past and upcoming events. Anjou also shared details on HMM collaboration with the non-profit organization – Sewa International; an organization that focuses on disaster recovery and rehabilitation (https://www.sewausa.org/chapter/houston/houston-overview).

Gitesh Desai, President of Sewa-Houston talked about Harvey efforts. Certificates of honor were offered to the students from the Marathi school, the directors of the program Dipti Kanhere and Kalpana Sarode, Dhol-Tasha leads Anukool Damle and Swapnil Saraf and comparers Mandar Phadke and Achala Bapat.
The most awaited dance performances were presented by 100 volunteers including kids and adults, based on the themes of Maharashtrian folk dances. The preparation for the cultural event started months ago and many of the traditional clothes and jewelry were ordered from India. The cultural event called “Maharashtrachi Lokdhara” was organized by Dipti Kanhere and Kalpana Sarode. Kudos to the cultural committee that created these wonderful memories for us.
Kids chanted the hymn of Atharvasheersha and audince sang to Aarti. Cheering of “Ganapati Bappa Morya” by everyone was followed by palanquin procession and an even grander Lezim and Percussion instruments procession that went on for more than 30 minutes. It was a mesmerizing and immersive experience that coalesced the chaos of the mind into harmonic order as if to achieve higher energy that became evident from the rhythmic nods, taps, and claps of the people listening around. Delicacies of Maharashtra such as Modak and Shreekhanda were offered at the dinner.

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