Jaipur Elephant Festival

If you were in India on March 28th, you would witness and be fascinated by a lot of elephants decorated with a variety of paints and adorned with jewelry on their back, such as gold or silver. These elephants would be seen walking on the road in India to celebrating an important festival—The Jaipur Elephant Festival.
The Jaipur Elephant Festival is a celebration of Indians’ respect to Rajasthan and symbolizes people’s worship of the God related to the elephant—Ganesha. Indian people venerate elephants and see them as divine beings. For instance, Ganesha, a great example of Indian people’s respect for elephants, has the head of an elephant. An interesting aspect is that Ganesha wasn’t born with the head of an elephant. He is the son of Shiva, who is one of the supreme gods in Indian religion, and Parvati, who is the daughter of the mountain.
Shiva left home for many years, and one day he finally returned. As he just stepped into his home, he witnessed Parvati hanging around with a young man. Shiva thought Parvati was having an affair and cheating on him, so he chopped that young man’s head off immediately.
After Shiva killed the young man, Parvati told him that the man Shiva just killed was actually his own son, Ganesha. Shiva got very upset after knowing the fact, and Parvati got really mad.
In order to save Ganesha, Shiva went to the forest. His mission was to chop off the first animal’s head that he saw in the forest, and replaced it with Ganesha’s head. Only in this way, would Ganesha become alive again. As we can tell, the first animal that Shiva saw in the forest was an elephant, which explains the origin of Ganesha’s unique head.
At the end of March, the Global Calendar Elective celebrated this magnificent festival from India. Each student got to learn and understand more about India’s cultural background and had the opportunity to paint an elephant planter by themselves! At the same time, we were so lucky to have Ava P. as an Indian student who not only shared her personal experience of participating in the ceremony for the Jaipur Elephant Festival. She also brought some Indian traditional biscuits that she made by herself to share with everyone in the elective group. We really appreciated Ava’s contribution to the group, which gave students from other countries with different cultural backgrounds an opportunity to know more about other cultures in the world.
Happy Jaipur Elephant Festival! हैप्पी जयपुर हाथी महोत्सव!