Midnight Swim

I mentioned Ganesh’s Birthday celebrations earlier, but I hadn’t actually witnessed the immersion of the idol. The other night, driving home from dinner, we saw festivities at a tank and stopped to check it out.

The tank — a man made pool — was lit with flood lights. A crane hoisted a platform over the center of the tank. The platform held clay Ganesh figures of various sizes (from about a foot tall to larger-than-human size) and a few men. The men were there to throw the idols into the tank. The crowd standing around the perimeter cheered each time a Ganesh was immersed. They saved the biggest idols for last — and they got the biggest cheers.

As I understand it, the idea behind the immersion is that the clay dissolves in a representative cycle of rebirth, as Ganesh was formed of clay (or sandalwood dust) by his mom. The never-ending rebirth cycle, taking form and becoming become formless again.

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PS What may appear to be trash in the water is actually the remains of the other Ganesh idols that were immersed earlier in the birthday season.

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