Sunday, 28 June 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi

This festival is also called Vinayak Chaturthi. It is observed on the day of Shukla Chaturthi in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada, the fourth lunar day of the waxing moon fortnight. The festival lasts for 10-12 days ending on Anant Chaturdashi. It is believed that Lord Ganesha was born on this day and thus the festival dedicated to worship Him.

There is a interesting tale about the birth of Ganesha. His mother Parvati before bathing created a human figure out of sandalwood paste and breathed life into it. She asked him to guard the entrance while she bathed. When Lord Shiva returned home, Ganesha did not allow him to enter. This enraged Lord Shiva and he severed Ganeshas head off in anger. This enraged Parvati and so Lord Shiva promised to bring back life into Ganesha. She asked him to get the head of any life sleeping with head in the north direction. Lord Shiva looked everywhere and fond only the head of a dead elephant. He fixed it on the childs body and brought him back to life.

Ganesha has many names a few being Vighnaharta, Ganapati, Gauriputra, Vinayak etc. Ganesha's vehicle is a mouse. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over India. Preparations start a month before the festival.On the first day an idol of Lord Ganesha is installed at home. Flowers and sweets are offered and daily pujas and aarti is done. People worship the installed idol for either 1 1/2 or 5 or 7 or 11 days and then immerse it in water. Modak is considered to be the Lords favorite dish and is prepared in every house as a offering.

Nowadays this festival is having a impact on the environment as idols made of Plaster of Paris is non-biodegradable, and insoluble in water. Idols made of clay or mud or any bio degradable material should be used to address this issue.

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