Pancha Ganapati

On each of the five days of the celebration, the five-headed Lord Ganesh is given gifts representing wealth and abundance, which may only be opened at the end of the five days. Each day's gifts are wrapped in the color of the day corresponding to a colored bead necklace draped over Pancha Ganapati. To Western eyes this may appear as pagan idol worship, but in practice it feels much more abstract, personal and sacred than the wonton materialism Christmas has become.

Under the direction of my wife, who researched and orchestrated the entire thing, our four-year old grandson Rhys began each ceremony, proclaimed the theme of the day and bestowed the gifts. Everyone participated, sharing their thoughts and blessings to other family members according to the tradition. Then, to close each ceremony, Rhys would put his hands together and in a very sincere tone say "No mistake" - his version of Namaste.