Festival of India parade

Posted: July 18, 2016 in events
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Many people walked and danced, clapped and chanted, as they paraded down Yonge Street on Saturday to start the annual Festival of India weekend.

The parade is similar to an annual procession (Ratha Yatra) 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!

a police car drives slowly in front of a parade as it makes its way down Yonge Street

people walk behind a yellow horizontal banner that reads Festival of India, Join us at Centre Island.

two women in sarees are pulling on a large rope in a parade. In the foreground, a man is pulling on another rope.

a group of young South Asian women walking in a parade. One of them has her face decorated with paint. In front of them is a group of young men in yellow tops and white bottoms, one has a drum.

South Asian, Indian, women, in long colourful sarees dancing as they move down Yonge Street in a parade

some older people dressed in white riding high in the chariot float in the Festival of India parade, others walking in front and pulling ropes to make the chariot move.

South Asian, Indian, women, in long colourful sarees dancing as they move down Yonge Street in a parade, lifting their skirts a little bit as they move

people walking in front of one of the chariots in the Festival of India parade in Toronto

a large blue wheel that is holding up a chariot float in the Festival of India parade, people walking beside and behind it as they walk down Yonge Street

lifting the red rope that separates the parade from the traffic, women dancing and clapping and walking as well as other people, pulling ropes to pull the chariot in the parade

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