Ganesha, one of the most beloved gods is known by 108 different names in our culture. He is considered to be a symbol of good fortune, wisdom, prosperity and wealth.
Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra (generally falls between August and September). This festival is celebrated by Hindus with a great enthusiasm. People bring idols of Lord Ganesh to their homes and do worship. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days, depending on the place and tradition. On the last day of the festival the idols are taken out in a colorful and musical procession and immersed traditionally in water.
With Ganesh Chaturthi just a few days away, we bring you the history and different traditions and rituals that are practiced during the Ganesh Utsav.
Out of all the stories linked to the history of this festival, the most relevant one dates back to the time of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Parvati is the creator of Ganesha. The story says that Parvati used her sandalwood paste and created Ganesha in the absence of Shiva. She gave him the work of guarding her bathroom door while she was bathing. After Shiva returned home, Ganesha and Shiva got into a tiff due to which Shiva severed the head of the child. Witnessing this site, Parvati enraged and Lord Shiva promised getting Ganesh back to life. The followers searched for a child’s head facing north, but all they could find was an elephant’s head. And that’s how our Gajanana was born.
As per Hindu mythology Lord Ganesh is considered as “Vigana Harta” (one who removes obstacles) and “Buddhi Pradaayaka” (one who grants intelligence). This festival is very important for students, they worship Lord Ganesh to illumine their minds.
Lord Ganesha’s significance in Hindu mythology
Ganesh Chaturthi is believed to mark the birth anniversary of the deity and is celebrated on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada. Ganesha or Ganpati is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. He is believed to remove obstacles (hence Vighnaharta, one of his 108 names) and is invoked for blessings at the start of any endeavour as the lord of good beginnings.
Traditions and Rituals
Weeks before Ganesh Chaturthi, excitement settles in. Various artistic clay models, varying in sizes and poses, are prepared by the artisans.
‘Ganpati Bappa Morya, a common chanting that evokes the feelings of devotees is commonly heard during celebrations.
The main attraction for foodies in this festival is Modak, a dumpling of rice or flour stuffed with grated jaggery, coconuts and dry fruits. Karanji, similar to modak is another famous dish that makes an indispensable part of the celebrations.
At the conclusion of the festival, the idols are carried to local rivers in huge processions accompanied by drumbeats, devotional singing, and dancing. There they are immersed, a ritual symbolizing Ganesha’s homeward journey to Mount Kailas—the abode of his parents, Shiva and parvati