Happy Ganesh Chathurthi everyone. It is time to bring an eco-friendly Ganesha idol at home for the festival. The pandemic may have muted the festivities but it has also created the need to celebrate in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. This does not in any way lessen the festive fervour but only makes us more conscious of the environment. Here are some suggestions to celebrate Ganesha Festival in a sustainable manner while maintaining social distances as you celebrate an eco-friendly Ganesha at home,
1, Buy eco-friendly Ganesha idol made from clay
When I was a child, I would look forward to bringing the Ganesha idol home. My parents would go shopping in the local market and we would buy an eco-friendly Ganesha idol, made of clay, painted in the hues of the earth without all the garish shades which are filled with toxins. The idol would then be kept under a tree once the festivities were over and would just merge with the earth. In recent times, you can even buy Ganesha idols that can literally be “planted” back into the soil. They are sold with seeds and you can transform the idol into a lush plant once the festival is over.
There are many varieties of eco-friendly Ganeshas which are chemical-free and are not harmful to marine organisms. They are free of Plaster of Paris and are devoid of toxins and are painted in natural colours. Avoid buying large Ganesha idols which are painted with chemicals that can be toxic and are non-biodegradable and can cause havoc to oceans and water bodies and marine flora and fauna. This year, make a promise to bring an eco-friendly Ganesha at home.
2. Buy eco-friendly Ganesha idol from local potters and local small businesses
The pandemic has affected the lives and livelihoods of potters and artisans and several local businesses. Support them by buying eco friendly Ganesha idol straight from the potters in small markets and help out local craftsmen and small businesses. In Bangalore, there is a charming pottery town, where a handful of families live and create magic with their fingers.
3. Avoid massive processions and crowded pandals
Well, what is a Ganesh festival without pandals and processions? Unfortunately, with the pandemic looming large on the horizon, it is better to avoid crowded spaces. If you are visiting a pandal in your city, ensure that you head there when there are minimal crowds. Follow all safety protocols and procedures if you go for the immersion. Hopefully, the processions will only be a smaller group rather than the entire neighbourhood. And of course, stay safe and observe all the necessary precautions.
Pic Courtesy – Kalakrit doing a workshop on eco friendly Ganesha
4. Main social distancing
It is difficult to celebrate any festival without a small gathering – be it friends or family or neighbours. And if you are visiting pandals or participating in the processions or heading to beaches, rivers and lakes for immersion, then ensure that you are vaccinated completely, wearing a mask, using sanitisers and maintaining most importantly, social distancing. Stay safe and ensure that you are celebrating in a sustainable way with eco-friendly Ganesha idol that is easily biodegradable.
5. Help home chefs and local and small catering businesses
Every festival in India is a delicious affair and sweets and savouries are virtually part of the ritual. If you are unable to prepare modaks and laddoos at home or you are lazy cooks like me, then support the home chefs and small caterers in your neighbourhood by buying from them. Authentic and
traditional it adds an extra flavour of deliciousness to the festivities. This is in addition to the celebration of an eco-friendly Ganesha festival at home.
Pic Courtesy – Coolgama, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
How did you celebrate Ganesha Festival in a more sustainable and responsible manner? Did you bring home an eco-friendly Ganesha idol? How did you celebrate