PALERMO, ITALY, August 31, 2014 (Repubblica Palermo): The Vinayakar Chathurthy holy day was celebrated yesterday by hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants in the shipyard district of Palermo. The festival commemorates the birthday of Ganesha; one of the most beloved Deities of the Tamil community. The event began with a function at the Muthu Vinaayakar Aalayam on Via Venancio Marvuglia and continued with a procession of the Deity through the neighboring streets.
The chariot carrying the Deity was accompanied by men carrying kavadi (small wooden altars) on their shoulders. Tradition has it that the hooks and spears inserted in various parts of their bodies resolved the vows they had previously made to God.
The ceremony ended with the ritual of the “breaking of the coconut.” A small bazaar selling goods imported from India and Sri Lanka, set up in the street outside the temple rounded out this celebration which invoked good humored curiosity among the inhabitants of the district.