Vakratunda mahakaaya, Suryakoti samaprabha
Nirvighnam kuru me deva, Sarvakaaryesu sarvadaa ||
Table of Contents
Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi: Honoring the Elephant-Headed God of Wisdom
Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturti is a festival celebrated annually to mark the birth of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is considered God of New beginnings and fresh start. Lord Ganesha is also known in the name Vighnaharta or VighnaVinashaka (one who removes all obstacles).
It is believed that Ganesha was born on Chaturthi in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada.
Some other tale says like this.One day Parvati wanted take bath, but there was no one to guard her. So she created a young boy. Asked him not to allow anyone to enter while she bathed. she named the little boy Ganesha. Soon Lord shiva returned and was surprised to see Ganesha. Ganesha stopped him from entering the house.
This enraged Lord Shiva and he severed baby Ganesha’s head. When Goddess Parvati came out from bath, saw her son was dead, she was furious. Lord Shiva promised her to bring baby Ganesha back to life. He went on to instruct his followers to search for the head of the first living creature that they notice so that they could replace it on Ganesha’s body. His followers (the Ganas) came back with the head of an elephant and that’s how Lord Ganesha came back to life. It was then when Lord Shiva named him the leader of the Ganas, Ganapati.
At the start of the festival, idols of Ganesha are placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents. The worship begins with the pranapratishtha (a ritual to invoke life in the idols), followed by shhodashopachara (the 16 ways of paying tribute). Amid the chanting of Vedic hymns from religious texts like the Ganesh Upanishad, the idols are anointed with red sandalwood paste and yellow and red flowers. Ganesha is also offered coconut, jaggery, and 21 modaks (sweet dumplings), considered to be Ganesha’s favourite food.
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.
One of the most iconic aspects of Ganesh Chaturthi is the visarjan, which is the immersion of the Ganesha idols in rivers, lakes, or the sea. This marks the conclusion of the festival, symbolizing the return of Lord Ganesha to his heavenly abode. The immersion processions are a sight to behold, with devotees dancing, singing, and bidding an emotional farewell to their beloved deity.
Ganesh Chaturthi is primarily celebrated at home and also in public by local community groups. The preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi begins much earlier, with several people making Ganesha clay idols and painting them. There is more consciousness in terms of organic choices for the Ganpati idol, as the erstwhile methods have been found to deeply affect marine life and pollute the environment.
An alternative to Plaster of Paris (PoP) is seed balls placed inside Ganesh idols that can grow into plants after immersion. Idols are made using ingredients such as corn and vegetable powder in idol-making that can easily dissolve in sea water and get consumed by marine organisms. The idols are organically-coloured with substances such as turmeric, chandan to protect the aquatic biodiversity.
This year I have come across something like this.
Turmeric Ganesha from KSPCB(Karnataka State Pollution Control Board). Turmeric Ganesha to prevent water pollution and have a safe and healthy Ganesh Chaturthi this time. I think it’s a great way to save environment as well as marine life.
Ganesha idols are kept in the temples with the special pandals set up. Offerings which are known to be loved by Lord Ganesha are placed in front of his idol. These include modak, chakli, laddu, payasam, motichoor laddoo and other sweets. Again it varies based on the culture and tradition they follow.
Suggested Watch : Fried Modak Recipe | Wheat Flour Modak | Ganesh Chaturthi Special recipe
A lot of devotees even bring small Ganesha idols to their homes and host pujas at their residence. This includes chanting, singing devotional songs and offering bhog.
Some people keep it for 3 days, or 9 days. On tenth day Lord Ganesha idol is immersed in water known as ‘Ganapathi Visarjan’. Due to environmental concerns, a number of families now avoid bodies of water and let the clay statue disintegrate in a barrel of water at home. After a few days, the clay is spread in the garden. In some cities a public, eco-friendly process is used for the immersion.
Om Gam Ganapathiye Namo Namah
Shree Siddhivinaayaka namo namah
Ashta Vinaayaka namo namah
Ganapati Bappa Mauriya
Ganesh Chaturthi Recipes:
Panchakajjaya is an offering made to Lord Ganesh during this festival in parts of Karnataka. It is a mixture of desiccated coconut, roasted Bengal gram, sugar and sesame seeds. Different versions of panchakajjaya are made. Roasted Bengal gram, green gram, roasted chana dal (putani) or aval can be used. Some people use jaggery instead of Sugar.
Suggested Watch: Jaggery Panchakajjaya | Ganesh Chaturthi Recipes | How to make Panchakajjaya Prasadam
Some of the recipes you can check out are. .
Around the Universe:
Lord Shiva and Parvati had two sons – Ganesha and Kartikeya. Both had their own vahana (vehicle). Ganesha, the God of prosperity and wisdom, had mouse. Kartikeya, the God of war, rode a peacock. One day, Shiva and Parvati were sitting together as Kartikeya and Ganesha were playing nearby. As Shiva watched them play, equally matched in strength, Shiva decided to test them.
He called them and told to complete three circles of the universe, whoever would finish circling the universe thrice, would be considered as mightier than the other.
Promptly, Kartikeya sat on his peacock and sped off on his journey around the universe. He travelled over the sees, mountains, the earth, the moon, the galaxies. He rushed from one place to another his effort to beat Ganesha. And He knew that with a mouse for a Sahana and a large potbelly, Ganesha would never be able to compete with him.
Meanwhile, Ganesha quietly got up and walked around his parents thrice. When Kartikeya came back, he was astonished to see Ganesha sitting happily in Shiva’s lap. Ganesha said that his parents were his universe.
Lord Shiva was pleased with Ganesha’s wisdom. He declared that before starting any work, people should first pray Ganesha. That is why it is considered auspicious to worship Ganesha before starting any task.
Ganesha Curses the Moon:
Lord Ganesha loved food and could spend entire day in eating. On a Ganesh Chaturthi day after stuffing himself with his favourite sweets, laddu and everything he went for a ride on his vahana(vehicle) a tiny rat. The rat could not bear the weight and tripped. Ganesha fell on the ground and broke a tusk.
Seeing the moon mocking him, Ganesha got angry. He cursed the moon saying that any man who looked at the moon would be cursed as well.
The moon realised his mistake and begged Ganesha to remove the curse. After long conversations Ganesha gave in and reduced the punishment. People could look at the moon at all days of the year, except one day. That is on Ganesh Chaturthi. Therefore believed that it is unlucky to look at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi.