Ganesh Chaturthi is around the corner and the fervor of this blissful festival is on its peak. With the amazing gusto seen where streets are decorated with lights and colorful frills, huge idols of Ganesha, sweet shops loathed with Modaks, a glance is enough to recognize the blooming festivity. Ganesh Chaturthi that marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha is an auspicious festival that is observed in the month of Bhadra (mid August to mid September) according to the Hindu calendar.
Ganesha also known as Ganpati and Vinayaka is one of the most worshipped deities in the Hindu religion. Every propitious task is marked by worshipping Lord Ganesha. He is widely acclaimed as the remover of obstacles. Therefore, he is also pronounced as the god of the beginnings. Ganesha who tops the category of most beloved gods, are recognized by 108 different names in the Hindu culture. He is marked as a complete amalgamation of good fortune, prosperity, wisdom and wealth.
The Ganesh festival commences with extreme joy and the entire aura seems exuberant. The festival is almost celebrated in all the states of India but the states where this festival has been celebrated with humongous celebrations since ages are Maharashtra, Goa, and Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and more.
The festival is bundled with a history which unfolds the mystery of Vinayaka’s birth.
According to the Hindu mythology, there are several stories linked with the birth of Lord Ganesha and among those that is quite relevant and fits in all odds dates back to the time of Lord Shiva and Parvati. It is so believed that Goddess Parvati is the creator of Lord Ganesha. According to the story which says that Parvati used her sandalwood paste and out of it she made Ganesha in the absence of Lord Shiva. Ganesha was then given a job to guard her until she finishes bath. The son abides by the duty assigned and when Shiva returned back home, he asked him to let him go inside but Ganesha refused. The tiff leads between the two reached to a point where the aggressive Lord Shiva slaughtered his head. Parvati when witnessed the situation turned infuriated and asked him to get his child back to life. The followers of Shiva searched for a child head facing north, but all they could find was an elephant’s head and so they got that for Parvati and that’s how our Gajanan was born.
The sincere zeal for Ganesh Chaturthi paves way from quite some weeks before where the streets are decorated with Ganesha idols of all sizes from small to huge ones. These statues are settled in houses, temples, colorful pandals, to mark the puja of the God. The statues are further decorated with garlands and artificial lights to make Ganesha more gleaming. For some, it is an auspicious ritual to bring the Ganpati Bappa at home as it brings pious vibes in the house. A ritual known as Pranapratishhtha, that involves chanting of mantras by the priest is a common sight seen.
According to another ritual called Shhodashopachara, the prayers are offered to God in 16 different ways.
A final ritual called Uttarpuja, that means bidding farewell to Lord Ganesha with due respect. After the ritual, a ceremony takes place in which the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed into water which is called Ganpati Visarjan.
The festival not only brings up prayers but also marks festive moments where people indulge in sumptuous dishes and delightful modaks. Modaks is a dumpling which is prepared from rice flour or normal flour and filled with dry fruits, grated coconut and jaggery.
The entire atmosphere during the Ganesh Mahotsav is filled with dance, music, songs and the chants of GANPATI BAPPA MORYA.