underthetree wrote:My first Ganapuja tonight - very excited!
Could I have some pointers on etiquette, please? I don't want to do anything silly...
Lots of good answers, but here is my 2 cents.
Nothing is silly - we all had our first Ganapuja and "made fools of our selves" (goes with the territory) and this is as it should be.
Get there early, and ask who are the old-timers, and then go up to an old-timer and ask if they could help you keep track.
Respectfully elbow the old-timer, if you get lost and need to be shown the place.
Sit next to them and very slightly behind, so you can watch them out of the corner of your eye. Then, while you are
reading the text and singing along, also keep an eye on them and do what they do. You can sing quietly, under your breath,
if you are afraid of getting it wrong. If you can get there early, ask an old-timer to show you the mudras (hand-gestures) a few hundred times.
Sometimes concentrate more on learning the mudras and sometimes more on the words and melody. For the offering, remember that
women hold the wine glass in their right hand and men hold the wine glass, in the left. (Hands are crossed when receiving.)
Woman drink first, and men eat first.
So it might be easier to choose an exemplar of the same sex, if you are going to do monkey see, monkey do.
None of which has anything to do with the real (inner and secret) meaning of the GP which you can ask an old-timer about.
If etiquette is of major concern then you might just keep your hands folded in a prayer gesture and concentrate on on the words and melody.
Then learn the mudras separately.
Before eating from your plate of food, set aside 2 small pieces which will be collected for an offering to the "spirits."
Some people give most of their plate, but it is not like that. Two little pieces are enough. These offerings are multiplied by visualization so
the physical amount really doesn't really matter. You can take home, or respectfully throw out, what you don't eat.
Please, old timers, correct me if I got something wrong.
Hope this helps,