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!