Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple

Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre (ISKCON Toronto), has always been the hub of a rich, vibrant and enthusiastic community. Whether it be grand festivals, programs at local universities and yoga studios, philosophical discussions, cooking sessions, or singing and dancing on the streets, there are events taking place for everyone's interest.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Eve Maha-Harinama Hits Toronto!

11:24:00 PM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav) , , , , 7 comments

The projected frigid weather was not enough to scare away a large group of devotees as they cheerfully made their way to City Hall in downtown Toronto to take part in the annual Maha-Harinama on New Years Eve.

Led by HH Bhaktimarga Swami, an ecstatic group made their way from the temple at around 10:30pm to the nearby Rosedale subway station. Already teeming with energy, the kirtan began right on the subway platform and, as the train arrived, astonished faces greeted the devotees as they boarded the train, drumming, chanting and smiling. Passengers fumbled in their pockets, purses and bags to get out their cameras to capture the moment and as the train stopped at each station, cheers and howls of approval greeted the devotees as more people piled into the train.

Arriving at the Queen subway station, the singing and drumming continued as everyone spilled out of the trains and onto the streets. Making their way towards Nathan Phillips Square, where the City of Toronto's main New Years Eve celebrations were taking place, the harinama party already began to draw a following as hordes of people tagged along and danced to beat of the drums.

As midnight approached, the ecstatic group of devotees fought off the cold by jumping, dancing and singing and, at the stroke of midnight, the sky was set ablaze with fireworks and the new year had officially arrived!

Tens of thousands of people then poured onto the streets from Nathan Phillips Square and passed right by the harinama troupe! Soon, the devotees were surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of new years eve revellers who, while perhaps a bit tipsy, still happily joined the kirtan and the chanting!

The harinama procession made it's way down Queen St. and up the famous Yonge St. towards Yonge-Dundas Square where another large crowd gathered as the kirtan built up to another final frenzy! After the final kirtan, HH Bhaktimarga Swami took the opportunity to give some random folks a chance at the microphone to see if they could belt out a "Hare Krsna" in their best melodic way.

With frosted noses and cheeks, the devotees made their way back onto the subway and eventually back to the temple where hot ginger tea, cake and steaming kichari awaited them. The annual maha-harinama at City Hall was once again a great success and while the group of kirtaneers came back a little colder and with their fare share of runny noses, smiles were abound as they all knew the new year had been ushered in with style... "Hare Krishna" style!!!

Picture Gallery from the Wild Harinama!


Rishi said...

How many years have you guys been doing this?

Keshav said...

As far back as I can remember! I personally have gone almost every year for the last 10 years! :o)

Rishi said...

Are you finding this event, and the other ones are getting bigger by the year?

Keshav said...

Yes, the response from the community has been great! There are usually anywhere from 50 to 150 devotees that come out for the New Year's Eve harinama! :-)

Rishi said...

Wow thats a pretty good turnout! And I can guess the other events you guys do just grow yearly also?

Keshav said...

Well, things overall have been growing quite steadily at ISKCON Toronto over the last several years. So there are numerous programs which have continued to grow while others have stayed steady and others have quieted down. All in all, right now there is SOOO much happening! :o)

Mahasundari Madhavi dasi said...

The New Years Eve Harinama and the festival the next day, Prabhupas festival, are really big events in the temple! Last year was my first and it was so much fun - made me wonder why I was missing this for the past few years!! You should come and check it out this year!!!