An Ancient Tradition has Happened at Middle Cove for Decades. And Hardly Anyone Knows about it

NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA, September 11, 2019 (CBC): For nearly 50 years, perhaps longer, the beach at Middle Cove has witnessed a unique spectacle. Hindu Newfoundlanders have carried out a millennium-old practice that involves taking a summer polar bear dip with a clay statue of Ganesha. On the fourth day of the waxing moon cycle, in the sixth month of the Hindu calendar called Bhadrapada (which fell on Sept. 2 this year), Ganesha is said to visit the homes of his devout followers. Known to be the remover of obstacles, Hindus honor this humanoid form for as long as 10 days by making handmade statues of Ganesha, treating Him to delectable foods, singing songs in His praise, and visiting each other’s homes.

The 10-day festivities mark a time of joy and celebration within the Hindu diaspora — and Newfoundland and Labrador is no exception. Since the 1970s, perhaps even earlier, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have been in full swing here. Seshu Adluri, who teaches structural engineering at Memorial University, carries out the rites and rituals associated with the festival on behalf of the local Hindu community. “In India, Hinduism celebrates the divine in many, many different ways, in many forms, on many different occasions,” Adluri said. On Ganesh Chaturthi, God is worshipped in a form called Ganesha.