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Indian cultural event to honour Covid warriors in Cyprus

Ganeshotsav 2020

Indian culture in Cyprus is alive and well thanks to the support of two bodies: Sanskriti Cyprus, a non-profit organisation and the High Commission of India. Everybody knows Indian celebrations are colourful, loud and filled with food, music and dancing. Most traditions and customs, even the dancing or the drum-playing, are related to a belief, a faith or a Hindu God.

With numerous religions worshipped in India, there are 33 million gods and goddesses but an upcoming celebration in Cyprus is dedicated to only one of them, Ganesh Chaturthi. The event on Saturday is the first time that the island will host such a celebration, a collaboration of Sanskriti Cyprus and the High Commission to thank and honour Covid-19 warriors. “We will also use this occasion to felicitate the modern-day Vighnahartas; our doctors, nurses, policemen and many other brave hearts who have been risking their lives to save ours from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” they said.

Ganesh Chaturthi, also called Vinayaka Chavithi, is an auspicious Hindu festival which is celebrated for 10 days every year. It marks the birthday of the beloved elephant-headed Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is known as the God of wealth, sciences, knowledge, wisdom and prosperity, and that’s why people remember him and seek his blessings before starting any important work. Lord Ganesh isn’t the only name he is known by. There are other 108-or-so different names people use to refer to him including Gajanana, Vinayaka and Vighnaharta.

This festival is celebrated with great devotion and joy by Indians across the world. In India, it is celebrated by all communities with equal fervour. It begins with the installation of huge, elaborately crafted idols of Ganesha in homes and podiums, which have been specially constructed and beautifully decorated. The 10-day celebrations include worshipping the lord, singing, dancing to drum beats and fireworks– all of which add to the festive mood.

Conluding the festival, the idols are carried to local rivers in huge processions accompanied by drumbeats, devotional singing and dancing. There they are immersed, a ritual symbolising Ganesha’s homeward journey to Mount Kailash—the abode of his parents, Shiva and Parvati. Similar traditions are to take place this as Skali Amphitheatre in Aglantzia will host the festival with festivities starting at 7pm.

Attending the event is free yet the organisers ask those interested in going to register beforehand as there are government guidelines to follow and a list of people who attended is required. Registering will also help avoid any delays on the day and can be done through the Sanskriti Cyprus website.

In an effort to showcase Indian culture, Saturday’s event will include Indian dance, songs and musical performances. Raffle gifts from local businesses and more are also on the evening’s agenda. While government measures will be put into practice, Ganeshotsav 2020 is an opportunity to highlight the richness of Indian culture and tradition and give space for it to co-exist within the Cypriot society.


Ganeshotsav 2020

Indian cultural event. September 5. Skali Aglantzias, Nicosia. 7pm-10pm. doors open at 6pm. Free but pre-registration is required

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