Washington: The headquarters of Microsoft, the world’s leading software company, witnessed a grand celebration of Ganesh Utsav, a Hindu festival that honors the elephant-headed god Ganesha. Thousands of Indian-Americans gathered in Redmond, a suburb of Seattle, to worship a 15-foot idol of Ganesha, which they affectionately named ‘Redmond Raja’.
The festival, which began on September 19 and lasted for 10 days, was organized by ‘Beats of Redmond’, a local musician group founded by Deepali Sane and Anand Yashwant Sane in 2019. The group aims to promote Indian culture and community unity through music and dance.
The idol of Ganesha was specially crafted by Sushant, a skilled artisan from Mumbai, India, and shipped to Redmond. It was installed on a 40-foot platform that resembled an Indian palace, adorned with colorful lights and flowers. The idol was surrounded by various offerings, such as fruits, sweets, and coconuts.
During the festival, more than 150 artists from ‘Beats of Redmond’ performed various rituals and ceremonies to honor Ganesha. They also played drums and cymbals to create a festive atmosphere. The devotees chanted prayers and sang songs in praise of Ganesha, who is believed to be the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles.
The highlight of the festival was the distribution of prasad, or sacred food, to the attendees. The volunteers handed out more than 12,000 laddus, a spherical sweet made of flour and sugar, and 1,000 fruits as prasad. The laddus are considered to be Ganesha’s favorite food.
The festival also attracted many local leaders and dignitaries, who joined the celebrations and appreciated the efforts of ‘Beats of Redmond’. Among them was K Srikar Reddy, the Consul General of India in San Francisco. He emphasized the importance of Ganesh Utsav in spreading Indian culture and fostering community harmony. He also announced the opening of a new Indian Consulate in the Seattle metropolitan area, which would cater to the needs of the growing Indian diaspora in the region.
The festival concluded on September 28 with Ganesh Visarjan or immersion of the idol. The idol was carried in a procession to a nearby lake, where it was immersed in water. This ritual symbolizes Ganesha’s return to his heavenly abode after blessing his devotees on earth.
Redmond Raja was one of the largest and most spectacular Ganesh Utsav celebrations in the United States. It showcased the rich and vibrant culture of India and its people. It also demonstrated the spirit of diversity and inclusiveness that characterizes Redmond and Microsoft.