The 43rd Annual Festival of India started with a parade down Yonge Street from Bloor to Queens Quay on Saturday afternoon.

The parade is similar to an annual procession that has occurred for centuries in the city of Puri, India as part of a Hindu festival associated with the god Jagannath.  Here in Toronto, as in Puri,  three chariots constructed to look like temples are pulled through the streets in a procession from one temple to another.    Each chariot carries a richly decorated representation of a god, first is  Jagannatha (another name for Krishna or God) and then his brother Baladeva and his sister Subhadra.   The chariots are pulled by people and the procession symbolizes the pulling of the Lord into our hearts.

In Puri, this Ratha-Yatra procession continues to attract over a million people every year.
In Toronto, the numbers aren’t quite that high!

parade going down Yonge St. using just the southbound lanes.  A policeman on bike keeps the traffic out of the way.  A float is being pulled by people walking in the parade.   Part of the Festival of India in Toronto.

float in a parade for the Festival of India, or the Chariot Festival, a Hindu celebration, in downtown Toronto

 

below: Many people used ropes to pull the floats down Yonge Street.

people are using a long thick rope to pull a float down a city street for a parade.

below: Other people danced, walked, sang and chanted Hare Krishna mantras.

Some women in saris and men in traditional Indian clothes, dance and walk in a parade down Yonge St. as part of the Festival of India
Some women in saris and men in traditional Indian clothes, dance and walk in a parade down Yonge St. as part of the Festival of India

The back of a T shirt that a man is wearing.  It has all the words of the hare Krishna mantra on it.

 The festivities continued on Centre Island for the remainder of the weekend.

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