As India celebrated the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi on 31st August, 2022 with a fervour not seen since COVID times, social media was abuzz with misinformation regarding the festival being celebrated in foreign countries with similar splendour. Newschecker found several of these claims to be false.
One of the videos that is being widely shared is allegedly from South Africa, and shows several people dressed in African attire, playing traditional drums, while devotees dance and celebrate the Ganesh festival. The video has been shared on Twitter by user @IndiaTales7 which has garnered 48,400 likes and 8,635 retweets on the platform. The video has been shared along with the caption ‘Auspicious Celebrations of Ganesh chaturthi in South Africa !!’.
Newschecker found similar claims on Twitter with different captions.
Another video that was widely shared by several people on social media, including BJP leaders, shows a huge Ganesh idol made of lemons and oranges. Users sharing the video claimed that it was from the recent Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in the Netherlands.
The video has been shared on Twitter by user @AnuSatheesh5 which has garnered 20,500 likes and 3,141 retweets on the platform. The video has been shared along with the caption ‘Holland is said to be the capital of orange in the world. See how they celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi’.
Newschecker found similar claims on Facebook and Twitter with similar captions.
Claim 1: Video Of Ganpati Celebrations From South Africa
We started our investigation by conducting a reverse image search on the key-frames of the video on Google to ascertain its authenticity and found that the video had gone viral earlier in 2018 as well. The video had been shared by the official account of Anupam Kher with the caption ‘This is MAGICAL !!!! Shree Ganesh Temple in Entebbe, Uganda celebrates #GaneshUtsav with the chants of #GanpatiBappaMorya. Listen to the sound of drums and the expressions on the faces of the people who are playing them.’ on 13th September, 2018.
Upon conducting a key-word search on Google with the words “Shree Ganesh Temple”, “Uganda” and “Entebbe” , Newschecker found the Facebook page of the Ganesh Temple in Entebbe, Uganda.
Newschecker contacted the temple via telephone listed on their Facebook page and spoke to Bhavesh Bhatt who identified himself as the head priest of the temple. Bhavesh Bhatt said “The viral is from Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations held in Shree Ganesh Temple in Entebbe, Uganda in 2017 and not a recent video.” He also confirmed that the video is not from South Africa but from Entebbe, Uganda.
Claim 2: Video of Ganpati Celebrations from Holland
We started our investigation by conducting a reverse image search on Google of the key-frames of the video and found an AFP fact-check titled ‘Video of Hindu idol at France’s Lemon Festival shared with misleading claim’ published on their website on 13th October, 2021.
According to the article, “A keyword search on Google, and a further search on the AFP photo archives here found an image showing an idol of Ganesha similar to one in the video.”
The image posted on 16th February, 2018 credited to Valery Hache of AFP has been posted on their website along with the caption ‘A sculpture of Hindu deity Ganesh, made of lemons and oranges, is pictured on the eve of the 85th Lemon Festival, on February 16, 2018 in Menton, southeastern France. The ‘Bollywood’ themed festival runs from February 17 to March 4, 2018.’
The article further mentions, the official account of France Magazine tweeted the image along with the caption ‘A Hindu god made from oranges and lemons… only at the #FeteduCitron in Menton!’ on 25th February, 2018.
Upon conducting a keyword search with the words “Fete du Citron” on Google, Newschecker found an article by Eurotunnel which describes the festival as “The Fête du Citron (also known as the Carnival of Menton) is an annual celebration of the leaving of winter and the coming of spring, where the entire town of Menton becomes coloured with locally grown oranges and lemons. The fruits are collected in abundance and used to make impressive structures and displays that are paraded through the town for a period of two weeks.
The use of the fruit not only represents the bounty provided by the changing of the seasons, but the pride the town has in the quality of its produce. In fact, the lemons grown in Menton are rather unique and sought after. They are recognised by their particularly bright shade of yellow and for being more elongated than round, as well for being prized by chefs because of their rich, essential oils.”
Newschecker’s investigation reveals that the videos of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi being celebrated in South Africa and Netherlands respectively, are false.
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