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Fete de Ganesh

18th arrondissement
Shopkeepers swathe the parade route on Rue Philipe de Girard in garlands of flowers spelling out their welcomes to the elephant-headed Ganesh. As the god of wisdom he distinguishes good from evil and assures success to worthy enterprises. Here offerings of fruit and incense are sold on silver trays outside an Indian market.
Chanting and dancing in the streets, Hindou devotees from the temple Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam carry flags, wear totems of fruit and feather, and balance candles atop heads.
A medicinal smell is dispersed as women tear camphor leaves from the wreaths they wear to smudge in the flames.
Bare feet tread the rinsed streets of the Paris quartier "Little Jaffna."
Powdered spices paint a street mandala.
Outside shops selling gold jewelry and silken saris, makeshift altars are erected where clouds of incense smoke surround statues residing over piles of bananas and limes.

Ganesh leads the way.

Before his feet, piles of coconuts are smashed in the streets as an offering of heart. The round of the shell represents the world, the flesh of the fruit-karma, and water-the ego. The large shards are gathered and dispersed throughout the crowd who pick coconut meat from the shells.

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