Lord Ganesha is the god of wisdom and prosperity and he is worshiped by the Hindus before the undertaking of any auspicious ceremony or work for success in it. Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated on the 4th of bright fortnight in the lunar month of bhadrapada as per hindu calender. Ganesh chaturthi is observed in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada starting on shukla Chaturthi (4th day of Waxing moon). Lord ganesha is immersed in waters on the 11th day assuming that he leaves for the abode. Ganesh chaturthi comes on 9th september in the present year 2013.
This festival of Ganesh chaturthi was started initially by the great Maratha King “Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj” to promote culture and nationalism among people, later this festival for revived by “Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak”, popularly known as “Lokmanya Tilak” to bring people together on occasion of this festival. It is celebrated in great pomp and splendour especially in Maharashtra by setting up of huge pandals and decorations. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Orrisa other than Maharashtra.
According to the Hindu Mythology, Lord Ganesha is a son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, It is said that Goddess Parvati created lord Ganesha out of sandalwood paste and breathed life into the idol. While going for bath she set him outside to guard the door so that nobody enter there, lord shiva returned to the abode then and as Ganesha did not know lord shiva, he did not allow him to enter which made him furious and he severed the head of lord ganesha which later enraged goddess parvati and she took a terrible form vowing to destroy the entire universe if the life of her son was not restored. All the gods prostrated before lord shiva and parvati and promised to restore ganesha back to life. The severed a head of dead elephant gajendra and placed it on the body of lord ganesha thus bringing him back to life. He was granted boon by lord shiva that he will be the first and foremost to be worshiped by all.
People bring home idols of lord ganesha by chants of “Ganpati bappa morya” on the streets, Lord ganesha is bought home with great excitement and joy. Ganesha Idols are installed in pandals and homes by doing “Pranaprathistha”, Huge arrangements are made for lighting, setting up pandals, using different themes for decoration. There is a festive atmosphere on the days of Ganesh utsav everywhere, there are family get-together’s, poojas, Ganesh Aartis are sung during morning and evening and prasad is distributed, the whole atmosphere becomes electrified with joy and peace everywhere. Lord Ganesha loves “Modaks”, “Durva” (trefoil) and Red hibiscus Flower, so after doing pranaprathistha and shodasopchara pooja (16 ways of paying tribute), 21 Modaks, Durvas (trefoil), cocunut jaggery modaks etc are offered. The idol is then anointed with Red sandalwood paste (rakhta chandan). Aartis are performed day and night where people come together and sign hymns and songs in praise of lord ganesha.
For 10 days from Bhadrapada Shuddha chaturthi to Anant Chaturdashi ganesha is worshiped and on the 11th day the idol is taken through streets in procession accompanied by dancing singing and shouts of “Ganpati bappa morya, Pudhchya varshi lavkar yaa”, to be immersed in waters symbolizing the ritual too bid farewell to lord in his journey towards hi abode in Kailash while taking away with him all the misfortunes of people.
It is forbidden to look at the moon on days of Ganesh Chaturthi as it behaved badly towards the lord and got cursed that those who look upon him in these days will be accused of theft or stealing something and get a bad name (kalanka), this symbolizes that one should avoid the company of bad people who have no faith in god, your guru and religion.
Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated as a very popular festival all over this country as lord ganesha is the most favorite deity of people and it is believed that he brings wisdom, prosperity good luck and happiness to people by taking away their mis-fortunes. Wishing you all a very very “Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 2013”.
May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation.