Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrated all over India with great fervor and enthusiasm. It is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, and it is celebrated in Maharashtra in the grandest way. However, in other Indian states, Ganesh Chaturthi is a must-celebrating festival.
History of Ganesha’s Birth
The festival was very first celebrated during the rule of Chatrapati Shivaji. The Maharaja laid the origin of this festival. There are many legends related to Ganesha’s birth; he is Lord Shiva’s son and Goddess Parvathi. Parvathi created Ganesha with the sandalwood paste she used to take a bath. This happened when Shiva was not there and did not know about the birth of Ganesha.
Once while taking a bath, Parvathi asked Ganesha to guard the door so that no one would enter. Ganesha did as her mother asked him. Meanwhile, Lord Shiva returned to his home and wanted to meet Parvathi. Ganesha stopped Shiva from entering the door, saying that this was her mother’s order not to let anyone pass this door.
This infuriated Shiva, and they both got into a huge fight. During the fight, Shiva sliced off the head of Ganesha. Parvathi came out and saw how Shiva attacked her child Ganesha. In the most fury, Parvathi took the form of Kali and threatened to destroy the whole Universe.
To find a solution and calm Pavarthi, Lord Shiva tried to find a solution. He quickly sent all his followers to find the head of a child whose mother had her back toward her child. His followers searched for many babies, but all of them were not negligent. At last, they found a baby elephant sleeping by his mother’s back. They brought the head of the baby elephant and presented it to Shiva.
Since that head was the only option, Shiva rejuvenated Ganesha, and since then, Ganesha has a head of an elephant. Today, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to remember the new birth of Ganesha and to cherish the legend.
Celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi
The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi begins to happen a month before its arrival. All the sculptors start making the idols of Lord Ganesha of all sizes. People buy these beautiful and colorful idols on Ganesh Chaturthi to worship Ganesha in their homes.
The celebrations last for about ten days, during which the idol of Ganesha is installed in homes, and people worship it for all these days. They decorate their home and pooja room with flowers, diyas, garlands, and other décor items. They regularly offer laddoos and modak to Ganesha and worship him every day. Several poojas happen, and people sing devotional songs and bhajans all these days. Some people also observe a fast as per their capability.
Many families visit each other and children meet their relatives; the whole environment becomes lively during these days of celebration. In the pandals on the streets, people install giant idols of Lord Ganesha, and proper worship rituals take place.
Then comes the final day on which people take the procession of Ganesha and say bid adieu to the Lord. Everyone takes the idol of their Ganesha to a nearby lake or river to merge them into water. During the procession, grand dancing and singing happen; the drummers come and play their instruments; colors are thrown at each other similar to holi, and finally, the Lord gets immersed in the water. Many devotees also tear up in happiness and pray to Ganesha to come again next year. Everyone becomes one, and they all become lost in the devotion of Ganesha.
Ganesh Chaturthi Pujan
The Pujan vidhi or method starts from bringing the Ganesha idol home. People buy these idols from the sculptures according to their budget and home space. They then install this idol in their puja room or in a clean space. They cleanse the idol with pure water and then decorate it with flowers. They offer the Lord with bhog or prasadam they prepare for Ganesha.
They then sing the Ganesha Arti and encircle the diya around. They also sing many Ganesha mantras and bhajans. This ritual is performed to bring life to the idol of Ganesha so the Lord can bless the family’s people. It is said that Ganesha, during these days, visits the homes and blesses the family. Hence people keep their homes decorated and clean till the festivity goes on.
Modak is the favorite dish of Lord Ganesha that he used to steal from his mother in his childhood. Many legends about Ganesha depict how Ganesha was a big fan of modaks. Hence devotees always offer Ganesha modak and laddoos as his favorite sweets.
This year, Wednesday, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on August 31, 2022. This will be an even more auspicious event since Ganesh Chaturthi falls on Wednesday, the day of Ganesha itself.