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Sounds of the Season: Sanskrit chanting in Diwali ceremony


Hindus locally and worldwide just finished celebrating Diwali, the colorful New Year Festival where prayers are made to the elephant god Lord Ganesha and to the Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and wisdom. In the first installment of our Sounds of the Season series, Amanda Greene of Wilmington Faith and Values brings us the blessing of the ledgers.

[Sanskrit chanting]

A recording of a priest in India chanting prayers to the Goddess Lakshmi guides a group of 20 Hindu business owners.  The worshippers sit in front of golden plates beside their new business account books at the Dune Ridge Resort on Wrightsville Beach.

Retired Wilmington anesthesiologist Jyotsna Shah tells the story of the festival of lights and its effect on business owners.

“We go and buy the books and on the last day we do and invoke Lakshmi and tell her OK now we have to write the new books so please help us. And that’s why we do the puja of Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.”

While children romp in the background, the business owners tie red strings around their wrists and dot crimson pigments from the plates onto their books and foreheads.

Even the timing of the ritual, 7:30 p.m., is lucky.