Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations Outside India
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated in the UK by British Hindu population living there. The Hindu Culture and Heritage Society, a Southall-based organisation, celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi for the first time in London in 2005 at the Vishwa Hindu Temple; the idol was immersed in the River Thames at Putney Pier. Another celebration, organised by a Gujarati group, has been celebrated in Southend-on-Sea and attracted an estimated 18,000 devotees. Annual celebrations are also held on the River Mersey in Liverpool.
The festival is similarly celebrated in many locations across the world. The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, an organisation of Hindus based in the US organizes many such events to mark the various Hindu festivals.
The Philadelphia Ganesha Festival is one of the most popular celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi in North America, and it is also celebrated in Canada, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. The Mauritius festival dates back to 1896, and the Mauritian government has made it a public holiday. In Malaysia and Singapore, the festival is more commonly known as Vinayagar Chaturthi because of the large Tamil-speaking Hindu minority.
Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius dated back to 1896. The first Ganesh Chaturthi Puja was held at the depth of the 7, Cascades Valley in Henrietta by the Bhiwajee family who is still celebrating this pious festival for more than a century.
Over the years the festival gained such popularity on the island that Mauritian government has attributed a public holiday for that day.
In Metropolitan France, Ganesh Chaturthee remains the main Hindu religious festival. The first Hindu Temple dedicated to Ganesh on Continental France opened in 1985 and the first procession took place in 1995. Since then, every year, the La Chapelle Quarters of Paris are the sight of a major procession with thousands of pilgrims and visitors. The organisation is mainly conducted by the Tamil speaking Sri Lanka community and the pilgrims are mostly Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka and to a lesser extent Hindi-speaking Hindus from Mauritius.