ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Indians in Kurdistan on Friday began celebrating the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival, highlighting peace and coexistence in the Region.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day festival (Aug. 25-Sep.4) which starts on the fourth day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month Bhadrapada.
People mark the beginning of the festival by placing clay idols of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Indian deity.
Observations include chanting hymns, Hindu texts, and fasting as well as the distribution of sweets.
On the last day of the festival, the clay idols are carried in a public ceremony and immersed in rivers or oceans where they dissolve.
Indians who were celebrating the festival in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, said the occasion symbolizes “good health and happiness.”
“This festival has been celebrated for many years in India,” one member of the Indian community said. “All [Indians] are praying for peace and happiness.”
Kurdistan 24 spoke with the Consul General of India in Erbil Deepak Miglani who praised the coexistence and unity in the Kurdistan Region.
Miglani said India and Kurdistan share many similarities, especially the integration of different ethnic and religious groups.
Being able to express their religious beliefs freely is “a matter of great pride and a matter of great satisfaction for all of us Indians,” he told Kurdistan 24.
“India and the Kurdistan Region enjoy historical relations,” Miglani continued. “The biggest similarity is assimilation—we look forward to taking everybody along with us.”
The Indian Consul General said he believes the unity of a nation ensures its success, pointing to “love and respect” the Region provides its people.
“The best thing which impresses [Indians living in Kurdistan] the most is the love, the respect for nature, for fellow human beings which Kurdistan offers,” Miglani concluded.
India opened its first consulate in Erbil in 2016 with goals to establish a long-term partnership between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Indian government.