Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi (Vināyaka Chaturthī), is the Hindu festival that reveres god Ganesha.A ten-day festival, it starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in Gregorian months of August or September. The festival is marked with installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stage). Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as Ganapati Upanishad, prayers and vrata (fasting),Offerings and prasada from the daily prayers, that is distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka believed to be a favorite of the elephant-headed deity.The festival ends on the tenth day after start, wherein the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in nearby water body such as a river or ocean, thereafter the clay idol dissolves and Ganesha is believed to return to Mount Kailasha to Parvati and Shiva.
History of Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesha Chaturthi is one of India’s most celebrated holidays. It usually starts on the forth day of the waxing moon period. Almost all families in India celebrate this holiday. They decorate statues of Ganesha lavishly and do poojas dedicated to him. People make sweets to offer to Lord Ganesha. The sweets normally consist of ladoos, rice pudding, and different foods depending on where you live. Temples normally make statues to be released into a nearby river.
Origins of Ganesh Chaturthi
The first public Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated in 1989 in Pune, India. This celebration was put together by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Before that the Ganesh Chaturthi was a private thing that everybody did in their own homes.
There is a curiously interesting tale about the birth of Ganesha. It is believed that once while Parvati was bathing, she created a human figure from some unguent and balm, gave him life and asked him to guard the door while she bathed. Later when Parvati was going to bathe she gives Ganesha a staff and tells him to not let anybody in without permission. After a while Shiva comes and wonders who the mysterious boy was, as he tries to enter Parvati’s living quarters Ganesha stops him. Shiva tries to explain that he was Parvati’s wife but Ganesha ignores him and hits Shiva with his staff. Shiva becomes furious and tries to battle him, Shiva realizes that he was no ordinary boy so he sends his followers to try to defeat the boy, but instead the exact opposite happens and Ganesha beats them all.
Shiva asks the boy who he was and he replies by saying that “I am the son of Parvati and none can enter here without my mothers permission”. After that Shiva asks Vishnu to come and help him. In the battle Shiva goes so mad that he throws his trident as Ganesha and beheads him. When Shiva realized what he had done he whishes that he had never done what he did. When Parvati hears of what happened she decides to destroy the world but Brahma asks for mercy and to not destroy the world. Parvati agrees but only under two conditions, that her son comes back to life and that he is worshipped before any other god. Shiva apologizes and the sends Brahma to go North and bring him the head of the first animal they encounter. Brahma soon returns with the head of an elephant.(The head of Gajasura)
Brahma fitted the head of the elephant to the boy and sprinkled water on him. Ganesha awake with the head of an elephant on his shoulders. Parvati goes and embraces her son. Shiva then confronts Parvati and announces that from then on the boy shall be named Ganesha, the chief of Shiva’s Ganas, and Vigneshwar, the remover of all obstacles. Shiva also says that Ganesha will be treated like a god and that he shall be worshipped before any god.
While Shiva went to go and rest in his room, he told Ganesh to keep guard. After a while Purshuram a pupil and a devotee of Lord Shiva came and asked entrance so he may speak with Lord Shiva. Lord Ganesh obeying his father did not let Purshuram in. They started to fight using words as their weapons, but finally Purshuram had enough and he throws his axe at Ganesh. Ganesh knowing that the axe was a gift that Purshuram had gotten from his father didn’t do anything. The axe hit Ganesha on one of his tusks and broke it off. In the commotion Shiva and Parvati came out and saw what Purshuram did. Purshuram asks for mercy and forgiveness. After Ganesha is revived by his father he forgives Purshuram.
Lord Ganesha loved to eat sweets, especially pudding and ladoos. On one of his birthdays he goes around getting as many sweets as he could. After he ate to his full Ganesha set off to his house on his loyal companion, his mouse. On the way home the mouse sees a snake and gets frightened. Because of this Lord Ganesha slips off of the mouse and falls. Because of the fall Lord Ganesha’s stomach bursts open allowing all of the pudding and ladoos to fall out. Lord Ganesha puts all the sweets back into his belly and ties the snake that had scared the mouse around his belly. The moon who had seen all of this happen laughed. Lord Ganesha got mad at the moon and then put a curse on the moon, saying that whoever looked at the moon on Chaturthi day, Ganesha’s birthday, and whoever did look at the moon would get bad luck.
One day kartikeya, Ganesha’s brother, comes to Shiva and gives him a fruit and tells him to give it to his favorite son. Shiva decides to give them a test to decide who was his favorite son. He tells them both to go around the world as fast as they can. kartikeya instantly hops onto his steed, a peacock, and sets off. When he comes back he finds that Ganesh had already finished the task. kartikeya knew that Ganesha was slow and asked him how he had finished before him. Ganesha replied by saying “My mother and father are my world, they are my universe, I just went around them”.
Gajamukha, a demon, did prayer to Lord Shiva and got a boon that would make him invincible. Gajamukha started to terrorize the heavens. The gods not knowing what to do sent for Ganesha. Ganesha starts to do battle with the demon by growing big. After a while Ganesha realizes that Gajamukha couldn’t be defeated so he turns him into a big mouse and makes him his steed.