16 September 2007

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated among Indians all over the world as the birthday of “the Lord Ganesha”. According to Hindu Mythology, on this day Lord Ganesh ascended on earth for his followers. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated with much deity and joy among the devotees of Ganesha. This festival lasts for 10-11 days and the celebrations are marked by large religious processions, social gatherings, preparations of delicious sweets & dishes and organizing special poojas in Ganesh Temples.

The festivity of Ganesh Chaturathi equally spreads all over India but Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh becomes the centre of attraction for grand celebrations.

Lord Ganesha is known in 108 different names like ‘Ganpati’, ‘Dayawant’, ‘Lambodar’ and Vighnahartaa, the Lord of destroyer of obstacles. Being most significant among the Gods of Hindus, Lord Ganesh is worshipped widely as the God of wisdom, fine arts and good fortune.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi

Birthday of Lord Ganesha, son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati, comes on the fourth (Chaturthi) day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Bhadrapad month (August-September) according to Hindu Calendar.

Celebrations of Ganesh Chaturathi

Although the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhado (August-September) but the preparations for the celebrations starts well in advance. Beautiful idols of Lord Ganesha, small and large, are made. The spirituality and enthusiasm dominates the entire atmosphere.

On the festive day these idols are placed in the house holds and public mandaps. Then the ritual of the Pranapratishhtha Pooja is performed to invoke the holy presence of Lord Ganesha into the idol followed by the worship with sixteen modes of showing honor, known as Shhodashopachara. Offering of Durva (grass) blades and modaka, a delicacy prepared from rice flour, jaggery, and coconut, is an important part of the Ganesha Chaturthi puja. Ganesha is also offered red flowers, and anointed with a red chandan.

For next 10 days, the Ganesha temples, each house hold and large mandaps are swayed away by the name of their most loved God Ganesha. On 11th day, the procession ceremony of the immersion of the image/idol in a water body is performed to see-off the lord and praying him to take away all misfortunes and come again next year.

Story of Ganesha Chaturthi

According to Hindu mythological scriptures Lord Ganesha was formed by Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. It is said that one day Parvati formed a sculpture from the paste that she used on her body before taking bath. She infused life in that figure and ordered him to guard the entrance of her bathroom. God Shiva returned and stopped at the entrance of his house by that boy. In extreme rage Shiva struck off the boy’s head. This incident filled Parvati in utter grief and requested Shiva to return her son. Then Shiva fixed the head of an elephant and restored life onto the body of that boy. Lord Shiva named this boy as ‘Ganpati’ Gan means (hosts) & Pati means (Chief) and blessed that Ganpati would be worshipped before every new venture.

The procession to immerse Ganesha idols/images on Ganesh Chaturthi finds its links with Indian Freedom Struggle. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak started Ganpati Visarjan procession in 1893 and used it as a platform to penetrate awareness about the freedom movement among the mass of India.

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

"Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha, Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarvakaryeshhu Sarvada""

O Ganesha - Ganapati, One with a curved trunk, a large body, and a brilliance equal to a crore suns! O God, please make all my undertakings free from obstacles always."

Ganesha, the lord with elephant head riding on a mouse, is mostly loved God of Hindus worshipped for success (Sidhi) in undertakings, and intelligence (budhi). Ganpati is praised before any venture is started and known as the God of education, knowledge and wisdom, literature, and the fine arts.

Ganesh Chaturthi holds utmost significance among the followers of Lord Ganesha. Lots of preparations are made to celebrate this auspicious occasion : large public processions, pooja ceremonies, social get together, erection of giant size mandpas and special religious ceremonies are organized. Apart from a big occasion, Ganesh Chaturthi has also become a very important financial activity. Thousands of artists & small and medium industries eagrly waits for this mega occasion.

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