Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated all over India with pomp and show but one can see its real festive fervor in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. People in Maharashtra make elaborate pandals and devotees flock in from across the city to seek blessings from Lord Ganesha.
People chant Vedic hymns and prayers. They also observe fast and offer Lord Ganesha his favorite sweets, especially modak on all ten days. Modak is believed to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweet and he fulfills all the wishes of his devotees when they offer him this sweet. On the tenth day of the festival, Lord Ganesha’s idol is carried in a procession with music and people dance around the idol. It is then taken to a nearby water body like a river or a sea for immersion. Mumbai has almost 1, 50,000 Ganpati idol immersions every year. It is believed that after the clay dissolves, Lord Ganesha returns home to his parents Shiva and Parvati.
History of Ganesh Chaturthi
It was during the British era that Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak decided to celebrate Ganpati puja on a large scale by making pandals and doing huge public gatherings. During those times, the government had banned large Hindu gatherings. It was also a way to protest and unite all the people through a big festival like Ganesh Chaturthi. The premise of this initiative was to use festivals as public forums in which to bring awareness and educate people about the freedom movement (Chandra, 1976). Tilak was from Maharashtra and is essentially said to have chosen the Ganesh Festival because it was one that was widely, privately celebrated. He is also known as the remover of obstacle and brings in good luck and fortune.
According to a popular tale, Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati by accumulating her body dirt and giving it a human form. She created him to protect her. Lord Shiva was oblivious of Ganesha’s existence until he paid a visit to his wife Parvati only to be stopped by Ganesha who was guarding her. Lord Shiva was so furious about being stopped by someone her didn’t know to meet his wife that he chopped off Ganesha’s head in anger. On seeing her son lying dead on the floor, Parvati also lost her cool and began fuming in anger. All the other gods and goddesses requested lord Shiva to pacify her. It was then that Lord Shiva attached an elephant’s head to the body of Ganesha and revived him. That is why Lord Ganesha is also known as Gajanan.
Another story goes that other deities requested Shiva and Parvati to create a God who could protect them from demons. That is the reason why Ganesha is also called Viganharta.
Lord Ganesha has got 108 names and there are so many hymns that have all the names which people sing while offering prayers to him. He is believed to take away all the sorrows of humankind and fulfill their every wish. Ganesha had five wives Tushti, Pushti, Shree, Riddhi and Siddhi. He has two sons Subh and Labh.
Ganesh Chaturthi Popular sweets
Nation gears up for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations