Devotees of Lord Ganesh bow their heads on trays containing fruits that are offered to the Hindu deity, as they make an offering during Ganesh Ustav on Sunday, at Felicity, Chaguanas. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Hindus concluded the celebration of Ganesh Ustav on Sunday with the immersion of a clay murti (or idol) of Lord Ganesh into a body of water.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the local Hindu community had to limit and restrict devotees who were interested in participating in what is the second largest Hindu festival, globally.  In Felicity, Chaguanas, several groups did their immersions in the Cunupia River at the Lakan Karriah Cremation Site.

Ganesh Ragoonanan, the spokesman for the Felicity Ganesh Ustav Committee, said his organization was determined to follow the COVID-19 prevention guidelines. He said the number of participants was limited to 25 percent of the devotees.

“I would say that we tried our best to have everybody social distance.  The most you could do is ask people to do that,” he said.

He continued: “With the COVID restrictions, we had to improvise with 25 percent capacity of our congregation although we had some devotees who wanted to be here, and I also asked any who wanted to be here to be vaccinated.”

Ragoonanan said the devotees participated in a police-escorted parade through the streets of Felicity and concluded at the cremation site.

Ganesh Ustav is the celebration of the birthday of the Hindu God Ganesh. Ragoonanan said celebrations began on September 10th with daily prayer services, and ended with the Visarjan or immersion of clay murtis of Lord Ganesh and a prayer service.  .