Ganesha Festival- The largest Hindu festival in Italy

Over two thousand people came to the Monastery of Gitananda Hindu Matha Ashram of Altare (SV) for the celebration of Ganesha Festival, for many years an annual event for Hindus, from all over Italy and neighboring European countries. The stream of devotees went through walking the long dirt road that separates the monastery from the rest of the world: an oasis of peace transformed for a day into the home to the largest Hindu festival in Italy.

The procession to reach the monastery was headed by a cheerful and imposingly decked chariot.  Thousands of devotees from all over Italy and Europe belonging to more than one hundred Hindu communities had the opportunity to meet and participate in the songs, traditional dance and devotion. Notable absentee this year was the community of “Maa Bhagwati Valdarno”, which was engaged in aid activities in the earthquake zone. Everyone’s thoughts went to the victims of the earthquake in central Italy.

Devotees gathered there prayed that similar opportunities for interaction and sharing would stimulate a sense of solidarity and closeness of the entire human population as one big family. As mentioned in the event by Paramahamsa Swami Yogananda Giri, Founder and spiritual leader Italian Hindu Union and Hindu monastery: “We need peace. […] The instrumental cause for the decadence in the world may be economic conflicts, but the underlying cause is selfishness. “In the context of the usual ceremony of greetings to these authorities and the allocation of gifts to the guests according to the Hindu tradition, this year the Italian Hindu Union has decided to hand over to some Hindu women a certificate of merit, to give voice and visibility they deserve to all those who are, mostly in the shadows, working tirelessly for the good of their communities. The event was sponsored by the Province of Savona and the Municipality of Altar. The Guest was HE the Consul General of India in Milan, Charajeet Singh, accompanied by his wife and son. The event was also attended by Dr. Concetta Staltari, Deputy Prefect (Central Directorate for Religious Affairs, Ministry of Interior), by Dr. (Viagra) Fabrizia Triolo, Vicar of Prefect (Prefecture of Savona), by dr. Luigi Di Maio, Vicar of the Quaestor (First Director of State Police) and some representatives of the Carabinieri barracks in Cairo Montenotte.