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The Joy of Chaturthi: Indian American Families Across the Country Celebrate at Home

The Joy of Chaturthi: Indian American Families Across the Country Celebrate at Home

A Hindu and Parsi Home Welcomes Lord Ganesha

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the Barucha home in Decatur, Georgia, Aug. 22. “Come August, our blended family — Hindu mother and Parsi father — gear up to welcome Ganesha into our home,” says Anu Ghosh, a teacher. “This year was no different. We cleaned our home.We adorned the idol with flowers, made delicious besan ladoos and jalebis and raised our voices in praise of Lord Ganesha. Ganpati Bappa Morya, Mangal Murti Morya.”

The Bhutoria family celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi at their home in Fremont, Calif. Aug. 22. From left, Raj Bhutoria, Vinita Bhutoria, Yash Bhutoria and Ajay Bhutoria. Top photo, Farzan Barucha and Anu Ghosh with their daughters Miraya and Diya, during Ganesh Chaturthi at their home in Decatur, Ga., Aug. 22. 

Ganesh Chaturthi is an Happy Occasion at Bhutoria Home

The Bhutoria family in San Jose, Calif., celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi at home. This year, due to the social distancing mandates, the celebrations have been low-key. The usual public prayers and community gatherings have been replaced by celebrations at home. “Ganesh festival, like other festivals, is a happy occasion for Indians in the U.S. as it offers  relaxed times when one can speak Indian, dress Indian, eat Indian food and go to temples and mingle with other Indians,” Bhutoria, a Silicon Valley tech executive says. “This year, for the first time a presidential and a vice presidential candidate or a U.S. leader has wished the Hindu American community on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi,” Bhutoria, who is associated with the Biden campaign says. “The community welcomed with enthusiasm greetings from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Rohan and Shruti Chakke at Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at their home in Iselin, N.J., August 2019. 

Bringing a Piece of Home Over With Ganesh Idol Installation 

A Ganesh idol installed at the Chakke home in Iselin, N.J., Aug. 22, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. “Ganpati is one of my favorite festivities growing up,” says Vandana Chakke, an educator. “I always wanted to celebrate it.” So when she and her husband, Rahul, immigrated to America, her urge to celebrate the annual festival got  even stronger. “Celebrating Ganpati  was a way to bring a piece of home over with us,” she says. “Rahul & I decided to bring Bappa into our new home in 2013. We don’t have to go down memory lane to relive it.. Now we celebrate it right here and create memories for the kids.”

Annual Ganesh Chaturthi festivities at the Deshmukh home in Kendall Park, N.J., Aug. 22.

Low Key Celebrations Without Usual Fanfare 

“This years Ganpati festival has been low key without the fanfare of food, and large gatherings of friends and family,” says Rupa Deshmukh, a research scientist at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “The decorations and video calls with friends and family do help keep spirits up through the five days that Ganesha will grace our home,” she says. “Ganesha being the God of new beginnings has a special significance this year as we eagerly await the end of this surreal pandemic and look forward to a fresh start.” 

A Prayer to Lord Ganesha for a New Beginning

Ganesh Chaturthi celebration at Middlesex Freeholder Shanti Narra’s home in North Brunswick, N.J. “Today is Vinayaka Chavithi — the celebration in my faith of the birth of Lord Ganesha,” Narra wrote in a Facebook post. “Lord Ganesha is known as the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles,” she wrote. “So this morning as my family and I performed a puja (religious ceremony) I prayed not only for my family and friends but for everyone to get through the crises we have all been facing currently.  I also said extra prayers and asked for Lord Ganesha’s blessings for two particular people’s success. I prayed that he would remove all the obstacles in their way so we all could have a new beginning. Just one Hindu woman’s very earnest and devout hope.”

Clay idols made by Mira and Sia Reddy and their cousins, Avighna and Akhila Reddy.

Making Clay Idols for Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations

Mira Reddy offers flowers to Lord Ganesh at celebrations at her home in Belle Meade, N.J., Aug. 22.

Like every year, Mira and Sia Reddy of Belle Meade, N.J., made clay Ganesha idols with their mother, Manasa Reddy, to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Although the celebrations were subdued this year, Reddy says the visit of extended family from Columbus, Ohio, added its own charm to the annual festivities at their home. 

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Food, Festivities and Fun Times During Ganesh Chaturthi in California 

Ganesh idol installation at the Pathare family in Irvine, California, Aug. 22 (photo below). Prajakta and her husband Prit moved to the U.S. from Mumbai, 14 years ago. Prajakta says that for many years the couple missed the festival that was so dear to our hearts. “Later circumstances happened such where we got the opportunity to continue our family tradition for which we feel very blessed,” Prajakta says.

“This is our fourth year celebrating the festival here in Irvine, California, and these two days are filled with a lot of festivities, love, food, devotional music and a sense of divine fulfillment that lasts us the entire year. Our kids Arjun and Radha are thrilled to know about our traditions and look forward to eating homemade modak. We wish everyone Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.”

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