|Ganesha, affectionately called Ganapati is perhaps the most endearing of all the Hindu Gods-- chubby, smiling and a bit mischievous! Ganesha is considered to be the most auspicious God of new beginnings, one who averts ill omens and impediments when you embark on a journey or a new venture. So one would find Ganesha guarding the entrance to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily gracing marriages and other such occasions. |
Every year the month of August/ September witnesses a huge celebration called Ganesh Chaturthi to honor Ganesha, the God of wisdom and prosperity. It was on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi that the elephant headed God, son of Lord Siva and Parvati was born. Ganesh Festival, a ten day long festival is organized all over India to repay Ganesha's abundant blessings.
The history of Ganesh festival is an interesting one, intertwined with the legends and myths of the Hindu tradition. If you wish to travel to any place in India to enjoy the fun and frolic of an Indian festival, then the best option would be the time of Ganesh Festival. The interesting rituals associated with the festival contribute to making the celebrations of Ganesh Festival a fascinating one.
Ganesh Chaturthi is among the awaited festivals in India. The festival marks the birth of 'Vigana Harta' that is Lord Ganesha who is the remover of all impediments. Although celebrated with great happiness and pomp in many parts of India, yet Maharashtra is definitely the place to be in, if you are looking to enjoy Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh Chaturthi continues for almost 10 days.
The festival is celebrated during the 4th day (Chaturthi) of the first two weeks in the Bhadrapada month following the Hindu calendar. The practice of celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi was not prevalent till the time Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak undertook the step to celebrate it as a means to bring together the Hindus from different parts of India. The aim was also to teach them the dangers of colonization.
Delicious sweets and dishes like Moong Dal Halwa, Ladoo and Kaju Burfi forms an interesting part of the festival. Deities of Lord Ganesha are also made. Ganesh Gorgeous pandals, pooja ceremonies and rituals, public processions, get together are the popular sights that can be seen in different cities in India. The festival also serves financially because many small and medium scale industries benefit from this festival, immensely.
|History of Ganesh Chaturthi |
| The celebrations of Ganesh Festival have an interesting history behind them. It was the Peshawas of the erstwhile Maratha Empire who started the tradition of community celebrations in the eighteenth century. During the time of Baji Rao Ganesh Festival was celebrated on a large scale and this popularity attained by the festival continued to grow as a tradition till the British seized power. They discontinued the Ganesh Festival and later tried to revive it with state funding to gain the sympathy of the masses, but was not successful. Towards the end of the nineteenth century Bal Gangadhar Tilak, nationalist and one of the foremost leaders of Indian Independence began to organize the Ganesh Chaturthi Utsav as a socio- religious function and Ganesh festival thus rekindled the spirit of nationalism among Indians. |
|Legends of Ganesh Chaturthi |
| There are various legends related to Ganesh Festival. Perhaps the most popular one is the one, which talks about how Ganapati was created by Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva, as she needed a doorkeeper while taking bath. However, while Parvati was taking her bath, Lord Shiva happened to come there and as Ganesha did not know him, he did not allow him to enter the house. As a result, Lord Shiva got angry and he beheaded Ganesha. But after realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva immediately dispatched his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. The first living creature happened to be an elephant and as instructed, the head was chopped off and brought back to Shiva, who placed it on Parvati's son's body, bringing him back to life. This elephant-headed god was welcomed into the first family of the Hindu heavens and named Ganesha or Ganapati, which literally means the chief of the ganas, or the attendants of Shiva. |
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|Time of Ganesh Chaturthi |
| The celebration of Ganesh Festival follows the Indian calendar and hence the month in the English calendar varies every year. Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of Bhadrapada month of Indian calendar, which alternates between August and September (according to the English calendar) every year. The festival is celebrated for as many as ten days in areas like Maharashtra, Pune and nearby areas. |
| Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi |
| Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi (Ganesh Festival) is dedicated to Lord Ganesh, the god of all good beginnings and success. It is celebrated with great zeal especially in Maharashtra and parts of South India. A cultural feast is held to coincide with Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra especially at Pune with classical dance, music performances, poetry recitations, folk dances, theatre and film festival being the main features of this festival. |
The festivities of Ganesh festival begin with buying and installing idols in houses and worshipped for ten days. Today the festival has become a great unifying force breaking through regional and religious divides and that is reflected in families and communities coming together to install and worship huge Ganesha idols in street corners, apartments and even in commercial establishments. There is also a sense of competition in the size of the idols, people vying to install the biggest possible Ganesha.It is also a good time to buy Ganesha idols with the range of idols to choose from in all sizes and textures.
On the occasion of Ganesh Festival the idols are carried in a procession through the streets of the town (especially in Maharashtra) and immersed into the river, sea or well. The sea front at Mumbai, packed with people and resounding with the shouts of "GANPATI BAPPA MORYA, AGLE BARAS TO JALDI AA," ("father Ganpati, next year come again.") is a spectacular sight.