Celebrations and festivities are a part of the social and cultural fabric of India. One can say it is festivals which keep the spirit of celebrations alive in India. Among several festivals celebrated in India one of the most renowned festivals is Ganesh Chaturthi. The festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Ganesha, also known as Vinayak.
Ganesh Chaturthi also called as Vinayak Chaturthi commemorates the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is commonly believed that on this day Lord leaves his abode situated at Mount Kailash for 11 days and visits his devotees. He brings along good luck, fortune, wealth and prosperity. Before inaugurating or beginning any auspicious event Lord Ganesha is invoked to seek his blessings as it is believed that Lord Ganesha removes all obstacles occurring in the path of success. Lord Ganesha is also known as “Vighnahatra” as he averts all obstacles of a person’s life.
The festival is celebrated on the Hindu month of Bhadra all over India. This year the festival will begin on September 12th and will end on September 24th.
The history behind celebrating the festival
Since childhood, we have often been dictated the legend of Ganesha which dates back to the time of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to the legends, Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of the mud by giving his body the shape of a boy and bringing him alive. Lord Shiva was away from home on a meditative odyssey so to guard the house Goddess Parvati asked Lord Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house till she bathed. When Lord Shiva returned on the same day he found Ganesha guarding the door of the sanctum. When Lord Shiva tried to enter the sanctum, Ganesha obstructed him and did not allow him. Lord Shiva got so angry with him that he chopped off the head of Ganesha that very moment.
When Goddess Parvati heard the commotion she came out and found her son beheaded. She demanded Lord Shiva to bring Ganesha alive. In order to fulfill the wish of Goddess Parvati Lord Shiva replaced the head of Ganesha with that of an elephant. This is how Ganesha became unique of all the gods. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to honor the revival of Lord Ganesha who descends from Mount Kailash to earth on this day.
Celebrations in India – Magnificent celebrations accompanied with several traditional ceremonies mark the onset of this 11-day extravaganza. Chanting of devotional songs, dancing on streets, bursting of crackers, distribution of Prasad, drums beating and loud cheers of “Ganpati Bappa Moriya” can be heard in various cities in India. In several places, small and big idols of Lord Ganesha are brought home and installed for worshipping and a delicious sweet dish called Modak which was a personal favorite of Lord Ganesha is distributed to people.
In the state of Maharashtra, one can see the significant festivities. Huge idols of Ganesha can be seen placed at exclusively decorated pandals. Devotees sing and take rejoice by dancing on the folk tunes. Exhibitions and fairs are organized where one can see the life-like idols of Ganesha.
In other states too the celebrations are the same but it is just in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh that the vigor and joy are slightly high than the other states. Tremendous enthusiasm can be seen in the people while welcoming and bidding farewell to Lord Ganesha. Fellow Indians get united by their customs and traditions to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is customary to immerse the idols of Lord Ganesha into the holy water once festivities are over after praying to the Lord to visit again the next year.