Ganesh Chaturthi underway in Pattaya

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Hindu and Buddhists again are celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in Pattaya with a 10-day festival that wraps Sept. 16 with the immersion of idols representing the “god of success” in the sea to fete the son of supreme deity Shiva.

The Pattaya Ganesh Lovers Club kicked off the celebration on Soi Buakaow Sept. 7, the seventh year it has been held. The finale will be held at Bali Hai Pier.

The festival includes a Sept. 16 parade through Pattaya to display Ganesha’s image so followers could pray for their own success and obstacles to be removed.

At last year’s event, worshipper prepare to immerse Ganesha images made of Plaster of Paris into the sea, symbolizing a ritual send-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.At last year’s event, worshipper prepare to immerse Ganesha images made of Plaster of Paris into the sea, symbolizing a ritual send-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.

The festival is Thailand’s largest of its kind. Past activities included fireworks, liturgy prayer ceremony, Ganesha head-covering ceremony, fire worship, and exhibition of more than 2,000 Ganesha figurines.

The centerpiece of the event, however, is 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 2.39 meters tall. The immersion will take place Sept. 16 at 6:19 p.m. The rest of the festival is taking 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.