Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival celebrated every year. Also known as Vinayaka Chavithi, this festival celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha in the Bhadra month of Hindu calendar — August to September. Lord Ganesha, according to mythology is considered to be the god of wealth, prosperity, knowledge and wisdom.
History and birth of Ganesha
Several tales are associated with celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. However, the most popular among those are associated with Lord Shiva and Parvati. The legend has it that Parvati created Ganesha using sandalwood while her husband Shiva was away.
While taking bath, she appointed Ganesha to guard the entrance of her house. When Shiva returned, willing to meet Parvati, he encounters Ganesha who would not let him pass through the entrance door, leading to a tussle between them. Initially, he tries to convince the boy, but in vain. Eventually, Shiva, the lord of destruction, chops off Ganesha’s head.
Parvati was not particularly happy at such a sight. She asked Shiva to arrange a fix about it. Shiva promised Parvati that he would give Ganesha a new life. He fixed the head of an elephant upon him and this way Ganesha was born again. The rebirth of this elephant-headed boy is celebrated as Ganesha Chaturthi.
The importance of the Ganesha puja
Ganesh Puja is performed with much zeal across India, as Lord Ganesha is known to deliver his devotee from every sin — substitute sin with knowledge, goodness, and a sense of action. A lot of people firmly believe that praying to Ganesha — becoming a devotee — leads to financial success and the fulfilment of their desires.
How is the festival celebrated?
Ganesh puja has always been a major attraction of the year. On this day which several communities await for ling, people wake up early, take a bath, and offers prayers to Lord Ganesha in the temple.
Artists make clay statues of Ganesh — in great numbers — and have it put up in decorated pandals across neighbourhoods. These pandals are decorated with flowers and lights, and puja songs play in the background, adding a diving aesthetics to the whole festival.
There is a lot of music and dancing, and the entire event breathes life, thanks to the drums and singing, and the loud chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya Varshi Laukariya’, which means that the lord of wisdom and knowledge, Ganesha, should very well come back next year.
For people, Ganesh Chaturthi is also a great time which they spend with their friends and family. There is a puja at home and distribution of sweets that are considered to be Ganesha’s favourite, such as Modak, Laddu, and Pooran Poli.
However, the primary significance and routine of this puja revolve around putting up clay statues of the lord in the neighbourhood, making it an opportunity for friends and family to gather around and offering prayers to Ganesha.
The cost of these statues vary with size and decoration and are often taken care of through generous contributions from the community.
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