Ganesh Chaturthi or the Vinayak Chavithi is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated in India, every year. This day marks the birth of Lord Ganesha and also the advent of the Bhadra month as per the calendar of Hinduism. According to the Western calendar, it starts from Mid-August and continues till September.
Lord Ganesh is one of the most powerful God, according to the Hindu scriptures and Vedas. He wrote the epic, Mahabharata. He is the God of wisdom, Prosperity, Wealth, and Knowledge.
HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL
There are many tales that encircles the birth of Lord Ganesh and marks the significance of this day. But the most popular one amongst them is related to his parents, Lord Shiva and Parvati. According to the tales, Goddess Parvati molded Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she was rubbing on her own skin. This happened in the absence of Lord Shiva.
Parvati ordered Lord Ganesha to stay at the entrance and guard the door while she was taking a bath and also instructed not to let anyone enter until she is done with the bath. After some time, Lord Shiva got back to Kailash and when He was about to enter through the door, he was obstructed by Lord Ganesha. This led to a fight of words and slowly it gave rise to the rage of Shiva. In the fit of anger, Lord Shiva cut off the head of Ganesha.
When Goddess Parvati came to know about what happened, she revealed the truth of Ganesha. On hearing that, Lord Shiva calmed down and promised to grant Ganesha with a new life. He ordered to bring ahead of a living being who is found sleeping away from his mother. Nandi along with a few others went in search of such a living being but when he found that most of the mothers are clinging to their child while sleeping, he got heart-broken but never gave up.
After a long search, they came across an elephant and her calf. They were sleeping facing away from each other. Thus, the search was complete. They brought the head of the elephant back to the Kailash. With the body of Lord Ganesha, the elephant’s head was attached and the life got restored back to him as promised by Shiva. Thus, the re-birth of Lord Ganesha took place as the elephant-headed God, which signifies the occasion from the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.
IMPORTANCE OF THE FESTIVAL
Ganesh Chaturthi brings an essence of devotion and determination to diminish and kill the evil. Devotees from all around the globe worship the Lord to free themselves from all the negativity and the sins that they have committed. They also mark the festival to restore the positive auras and vibes of protection around them.
Along with getting rid of the evil intentions, the devotees also pray to God to bless them with wisdom and knowledge to lead the righteous path in life. Prayers and chanting of mantras are done to evoke Lord Ganesha in fulfilling their desires and the wishes as well.
RITUALS OF THE FESTIVAL
People wake up early morning on this auspicious day and take a holy bath before commencing with the rituals of the Pooja. They visit the temples or pandals to offer prayers or mantra chants to Lord Ganesha.
Artisans prepare clay models of Lord Ganesha, which comes in different shapes and sizes. These models or the statues are bought and decorated at the home, mandaps, temples or the pandals, to mark the arrival of the Lord.
The stage or the place where Ganesha is kept, are decorated with the various kinds of flowers and different shades of light, which enhances the beauty and the purity of the festival with glory and serenity.
With the start of the ritual, the priest summons the life of the idol by chanting the mantras. After that, the rest of the Pooja follows. As this festival occurs for the celebrations of good times, the auras change into a pompous festive mode. People dance on the streets playing the songs related to the praising of the Lords. There is a blend of tending music along with the beats of the drums. Along with the beats, the dance of the devotees continues. Fireworks and colors add sparks to the spirit of the festival as well.