Ganesh Chaturthi| Hindu Festival|Vinayagar Chaturthi

 Ganesh Chaturthi -Auspicious Hindu Festival 

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the sacred and the most important festivals amongst the Hindus in India. Hindus celebrate this festival with great devotion through the practice of various rituals. This day is marked to be celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh- the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Lord Ganesha is observed to be the symbol of prosperity, fortune, and wisdom. 
Lord Ganesha was born in the month of 'Bhadra' around the time of August and September. It is even believed that Lord Ganesha was born on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Magh. Since then, people associate Chaturthi and Ganesh observing it as Ganesh Chaturthi!
The festival is marked with the welcoming of clay Ganesh God idols in Hindu homes with huge decorations privately in homes. It is celebrated for 1 to 11 days across the country depending upon the culture, place, and traditions. People chant Vedic Hymns and Hindu texts in the form of prayers to mark this special festival. 
In the Indian state of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated every year with great pomp and show. Many sweets in the form of 'prasad' are distributed across the community from the homes. 'Modak' being the favorite sweet of Lord Ganesh is made in homes and is distributed to the community!
The festival ends on the tenth day after the start when the idol is carried in groups through chanting and music and then immersed in the nearest water body be it sea, rivers, or lakes- known as 'Ganesh Visarjan'. The interesting thing here is, In Mumbai alone, 1,50,000 clay statues are traditionally immersed in seawater annually!
The clay statue gets finally dissolved in water and Lord Ganesh is believed to return to his home Mount Kailash to Maa Parvati and Lord Shiva. The festival marks the beginning of new things and removing obstacles in Indian homes with the birth of Lord Ganesh. 
Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in every Indian state accompanied by various competitions, traditions, athletic and martial arts at public venues.

In 2020, Ganesh Chaturthi falls on 22nd August, and noting with this we at Easy Recipes World are going to give you a glimpse and brief on the significance and influence of Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Legendary Story Of the Birth of Lord Ganesh

The legendary story behind the birth of Lord Ganesh is something that we all would have never heard about!  The tale says that- when Maa Parvati was about to take bath she had created a living human figure using a glue-like substance and balm whom she gave life and asked him to guard the door while she is bathing. After doing a long period of meditation on Mount Kailash( Lord Shiva's abode) Shiva took a moment to see what his better half is doing. But after glancing through he found that one man figure is standing at the door where Maa Parvati was bathing. This caused anger to Lord Shiva, which he decided to slit the head of the person only to discover after some moments that he killed Parvati's son. To escape from his wife's enrage, Shiva sent off his attendants( Ganas) to get the head of the first living creature on the planet. The first living creature during ancient times was the elephant. As instructed he chopped the head of the elephant and placed on the body of Parvati's son giving him rebirth again! The elephant-headed God was welcomed in the Hindu heaven and named 'Ganesha' or 'Ganapati' who is the chief of the 'Ganas'- Shiva's attendants.

The brave guardian of Maa Parvati's door is observed and worshipped today as the auspicious Hindu God. Lord Ganesha or Ganpati is worshipped whenever it is said to have a new beginning in life, ventures, or career.  You will this cute animal faced God peeping out of calendars, temples and is worshipped in every occasion!

Who introduced the celebration of the festival of Vinayagar Chaturthi?

  • It is still not clearly known that when and how was the Ganesh Chaturthi first celebrated. But tracing the History back then, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were started in Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the prominent Maratha ruler of all times to promote nationalism and cultural influences.
  •  Similarly, Peshwas were also the great observers of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganapati was the family deity idol of Peshwas. Since then, Ganesh Chaturthi has remained the family affair in the people of Maharashtra. It is commonly known as the Maharashtra festival!

  • During the Indian struggle of independence, Bal Gangadhar Tilak a freedom fighter and a social reformer who was highly esteemed and regarded by people as 'Lokmanya' brought back the cultural practice of Ganesh Chaturthi from private family celebrations to a grand public gathering event!
  • To beat the cultural indifference amongst the Brahmins and Non-Brahmins of India, Tilak saw Lord Ganesh is prominently worshipped by people across the country and hence, introduced the Annual national festival of 'Ganesh Chaturthi'.
  • He started introducing 'Ganesh Utsav' as the religious function and started to up large statues of Ganesha from day one and introduced practices of immersion! Through Bal Gangadhar Tilak's efforts, a Peshwa family tradition was collectively getting influence and recognition in all parts of the country as 'Vinayakar Chaturthi' or 'Ganpati Festival'.

Facts you need to know about Ganesh Chaturthi

  • In India, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated grandly in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Outside India, the Hindu diaspora residing in Nepal, UK, the US, Mauritius, and Fiji.
  • Ideally, the idols were sculpted out of the mud and eventually immersed in water known as 'Ganesh Visarjan' in water. These are sculpted again every year and the ritual continues. But unfortunately, Plaster of Paris is commonly used in designing Ganesh idols has harsh chemical compounds of Mercury and cadmium which causes water contamination due to the release of harmful affluent!
  • Many believe Lord Ganesha is a bachelor but there are numerous times where Ganesha is represented along two wives named Ridhi and Sidhi, both created by Lord Brahma when Lord Ganesha was distraught having no consort while all other Hindu Gods had more than one consort!
  • It is believed to have Lord Ganesha has 108 names in total, Apart from that, Ganesh Chaturthi is the day where Lord Shiva declared Ganesha to be above all gods!
  • Apart from Pune and Mumbai, there is a place in Maharashtra in the pen district where 500 workshops and 800 artisans make about 7 lakh idols every year, which also get exported to the UK and US. 

How Indian Community Celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi.

  • Ganesh Chaturthi is a prominent festival among the Indians. Indians get an idol of Ganapati made of preferable clay. India is a country of rich artisans and craftsmen carve beautiful idols of Lord Ganapati and sell at prices of huge to affordable ones!
  • Before bringing the Ganesha idol at home, the homes are cleaned and decorated with Pandals and flowers to welcome Lord Ganesha. This is known as 'Ganapati decoration'.
  • After that, maybe in the morning or evening lamp lighting is done, and 'Ganesh Ji ki Aarti' is performed through prayers by chanting 'Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Deva' and reciting Hindu texts or hymns. 'Ganesh Aarti' is one of the important rituals to perform during Ganesh Chaturthi.
  • Lord Ganesha is known to have sweet tooth so having this in mind, prasad and Bhog are offered to Lord Ganesha which comprises Ladoos and Modak. Modak is a sweet which is made by stuffing jaggery and coconut from rice or wheat flour.
  • Ganesha Idols are kept in devotees home for 10 days where he is worshipped and cherished and after that, the traditional 'Ganesh Visarjan' is done where Lord Ganesh is made to return to his abode.

Why and How Ganpati Visarjan is performed?

  • 'Ganapati Visarjan' is done to signify the birth cycle of Lord Ganesha where he was in real born from clay, his symbolic statue as well.
  • The Ganesh idol is immersed in water after his stay at his devotees' home so that Lord Ganesha can return to his home back to heaven.
  • It is even considered to keep the statue at homes even after 10 days as a symbol of fortune bearer but it is even believed after 10 days those powers can be born by humans alone! So, the best idea is to immerse the idols
  • While breaking the statue would be disrespectful, it is always made a ritual to immerse the statue at a water body be it a river, sea, or pond so it breaks down the clay from where it came. The statues are made with components that are eco friendly and can be easily broken down.
  • In recent years, these idols are made from non-biodegradable substances that get mixed with water leading to contamination. Keeping this mind, we must take responsibility for the environment-friendly making of statues as though we respect Lord Ganesh.

Bottom Line:

Lord Ganesh is a symbol of fortune, wealth, and prosperity. He is even the symbol of intelligence and wisdom! Students should worship Lord Ganesh before making it big in the world of education and career. 'Ganesh Ji ki Aarti' is considered to be spiritual and calms the home atmosphere hence, is preferred to be done in all Hindu homes. 

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all!💓

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