Strategies for a Sensory-Friendly Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival celebrated to honour the birth of Lord Ganesha. This is a celebration that is widely celebrated in India and by the Hindu diaspora around the world. During this day, Hindus visit the temple to pray and pay their respect to Lord Ganesha. Temples hold a special prayer where devotees chant mantras and sing prayer songs. In addition, during this celebration, huge Ganesha statue will be paraded through the streets. A lot of people gather and show their respect to Lord Ganesha. Even though this celebration is significant for Hindus, people may not attend the sensory-rich celebration because of sensory sensitivity. Keep reading to find strategies so that people with sensory sensitivity and sensory overload can celebrate with a sensory-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi.

Avoid busy hours

A lot of people visit the temple on Ganesh Chaturthi. If a person with sensory sensitivity or sensory overload visits the temple during busy hours, it can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is helpful to reach out to the temple organization to ask about visiting during a less busy time of day.

Moreover, you can also explain your situation to the temple organization and try to get a special prayer for your family. During this special prayer, you can also ask the temple to make the prayer hall a sensory-friendly environment. Some of the measures that you can suggest include:

  1. reducing bright lights,
  2. turning down or off loud music,
  3. reducing or eliminating scents and smells, and
  4. limiting the number of people.

Suggest these four strategies to your temple for a sensory-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi.

Bring sensory-friendly tools

Pack a small bag to bring with you. Bring food, water, and any sensory tools that you might need. Some of the sensory tools that you can choose to carry include fidgets, a weighted lap pad, or noise-cancelling ear muffs.

Carrying essential things with you will help you feel comfortable and use them whenever you need to.

Take breaks

According a study, ““Give Me a Break!” a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy of Micro-Breaks for Increasing Well-Being and Performance” by Albulescu et al., (2022), simple 40 seconds are sufficient enough to improve attention 1.  Take regular breaks for your well-being.

Allow your body to take breaks as much as it needs. So, pause and take breaks. Bio-breaks are important! Taking breaks will allow you to have a better time.

Grab some fresh air! Eat a snack and drink some water! Take a toilet break! Stretch your legs!

This is an image of two people in their traditional outfits. They both have a smile on their face. One person is holding a plate of Indian sweets. The other person is holding onto a small Ganesha statue.

Watch the parade from a far distance

During Ganesh Chaturthi, a statue of Lord Ganesha is often paraded on the road. There will be songs, loud music, and people in a big crowd during this parade. For people who experience sensory overload, this can get overwhelming. Therefore, choose to watch the parade from a distance as a strategy to help.

Arrive early. Find a quiet area along the parade route. Choose a spot removed from other people. This will allow you to participate in the parade but feel comfortable.

Bring along sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones to help reduce noise and light, too.

Avoid attending an in-person parade

If you are still unsure about attending the parade, consider watching the parade in the comfort of your home. Watch a live stream of the parade instead. Alternatively, have a friend or family member record it for you.

Implementing these tips will help you have a sensory-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi!

Are you interested in learning more about making your next celebration sensory-friendly? Check out:

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  1. Albulescu, P., Macsinga, I., Rusu, A., Sulea, C., Bodnaru, A., & Tulbure, B. T. (2022). “Give Me a Break!” a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy of Micro-Breaks for Increasing Well-Being and Performance. PLOS ONE, 17(8), e0272460.
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