Eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations did exist in the past in Goa. Eco-consciousness among our Goan ancestors can be traced back in time.
The eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations of Naik Vaidya family, from Vazem, Shiroda, Ponda is note-worthy. To them celebrating Ganesh the eco-friendly way, held prime importance; their Ganesha, being made of wood.
Instead of bringing a new one, the same old idol is worshipped every year. After sprinkling a little water on it, the symbolic immersion is completed and the idol is stored properly for next year’s celebration. Before the festival, this wooden idol is taken to the house of Lala Chari where it is painted to revive its festive look, as per a TOI report.
Traditionally, in olden times, the idol was sculpted out of mud taken from nearby one’s home. After the festival, it was returned to the Earth by immersing it in a nearby water body. This cycle was meant to represent the cycle of creation and dissolution in Nature.
…( a murthikaar in the village of DhargaL, Goa. These artists shape the murthi by hand and do not use moulds or templates. Only eco-friendly materials)
This year, however, going the eco-friendly way, “the Ganesh idol at Mala (Fontainhas), had been made of matchsticks, sawdust and paper”, as stated by the vice-president of Yuva team Raghuvir Mahale. On the other hand, Devanand Mainkar, president of Young Boys of Boca De Vaca, had installed a clay idol for their Sarvajanik Utsav, purely made with eco-friendly ingredients and non-toxic colours. Their reason being clay would dissolve faster on immersion in water, without posing a threat to the environment.
At some places, Ganesha is worshipped in the form of ‘patri’ (leaves) while there are households which worship Ganesha made of paper, instead of clay. Extremely cost-free and eco-friendly!
Worshipped as the God of wisdom, well-being and prosperity, going eco-friendly would surely be ‘wisdom’ from ‘Bappa’. Many have paid a blind eye and deaf ear to this. Religion is becoming more competitive. Let’s hope that better sense prevails where damaging the environment is concerned. Our ancestors have done it, so can we!
Let the festival of Ganesha bring joy and happiness to creatures big and small, on land and in the sea.