Ganesha Chaturthi celebrated Aug. 15-30

Friday, 15 August 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 33 By  Urasin Khantaraphan

Hindu and Buddhists will again celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in Pattaya, using a 15-day festival on Soi Buakaow and Bali Hai Pier to immerse idols representing the “god of success” in the sea to fete the son of supreme deity Shiva.

When the Aug. 15-30 event organized by the city and the Pattaya Ganesh Lovers Club kicks off, the festival will include a parade through Pattaya to display Ganesha’s image so followers could pray for their own success and obstacles to be removed. Pattaya officials and club leaders then lead followers in an evening candle-lighting ceremony.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Chaiwat Detchonthee, president of Lord Ganesh Worshippers Club, and members announce the festival starting today, Aug. 15 on Soi Buakaow.Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Chaiwat Detchonthee, president of Lord Ganesh Worshippers Club, and members announce the festival starting today, Aug. 15 on Soi Buakaow.

The festival - the sixth year it has been held in Thailand - will be the country’s largest celebration of its kind. Past activities include fireworks, liturgy prayer ceremony, Ganesha head-covering ceremony, fire worship and exhibitions of more than 2,000 Ganesha figurines.

The centerpiece of the event, however, will be the ritual immersion of Ganesha images made of Plaster of Paris into the sea, symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.

This year’s statue will be 39 meters tall. The immersion and parade will be held Aug. 28. The rest of the festival will take place on Soi Buakaow next to Bangkok Bank.

The event is typically well attended, as Ganesha is among the most-transcendent of Hindu gods, worshipped throughout western and southeast Asia. In India, he is revered not only as a remover of obstacles, but a “god for everyman” and the “lord of beginnings.” In Thailand, Buddhists recognize him as the “god of success,” appearing in Mahayana Buddhism texts in the form of the Buddhist god Vinayaka as well as a Hindu demon form with the same name.

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