Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi

Rituals : The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated largely in Central and South India by people of all classes, high and low, rich and poor, young and old, men and women of all occupations primarily for favor of removing all obstacles in their progress and for granting of various boons. It is celebrated on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August- September) to commemorate the birthday of Lord Ganesh, born to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati through Cosmic power The birthday celebration is marked with decorations of all sorts and continues for ten days until the fourteenth day in most of the community centers and even in private houses with great zeal, enthusiasm and devotion.

Several types of Pujas, Bhajans, and Aartis are performed and many songs both vocal and instrumental are sung in His praise by young and old. In some places a variety of dance and musical entertainment by renowned artists is organized. He is identified in different forms and colors, the most popular form of worship as a God is the one shown as an adult in the sitting position, in crimson color, with an elephant head with large ears, human body, large belly with a serpent around, and four or more hands holding sweets, a rosary, a conch, a trishul, some flowers, and many other articles, mounted on a rat.

A variety of sweets are prepared and served as Prasad. At the end of the celebration, the idols are taken in processions by devotees, and immersed in water, be it a stream, a lake, the river or the sea. The strong central belief in all these activities is in the progress and welfare of individuals and communities, the old obstacles are removed and new one prevented.

Legend & Stories: The elephant head is considered as symbolic of power of strength, wisdom, memory, keen hearing and less talking. The rat is a symbol of greedy desires that can be controlled by wisdom. He has two consorts Siddhi (Achievement) and Buddhi (Intelligence). Legend says that on one of his birthdays, Lord Ganesh was enjoying himself in a garden, the Moon looked at him and his figure and laughed ridiculously. On that Ganesh cursed the Moon  that who ever sees him on the fourth day of the month would face several obstacles in his life.

The Moon then apologized for his behavior and prayed to Lord Ganesh to excuse him for his conduct and redeem the curse. Ganesh then pronounced that who ever performs pujas and celebrations in his honor on that date would be saved from the curse, this is the reason that Ganesh celebrations are done on Chaturdhi, the fourth day of Lunar month, Bhadrapad. Ganesh is said to have written, non-stop, the great Mahabharata with his broken trunk as  dictated by the sage Vyasa. He did it on condition that Vyasa would dictate non-stop the entire Mahabharata. Thus he became the first stenographer known in legends. Once his parents asked him and his brother Kumaraswami, to go around the world and whoever did the task first would be rewarded well.
While Kumaraswami went around the world with his own vehicle, the peacock, Ganesh chose just to go around his parents only and demanded the reward. Asked why he had done so, he replied that his parents are his world and so he completed the task in all reverence to his parents. Shiva and Parvati were pleased with his answer and he was duly rewarded. There are many other mythological stories that exist for people to understand and live the Hindu way of life.
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