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Ganesh Chathurthi

Ganesh Chathurthi, also known as Vinayaka Chathurthi is the celebration of Lord Ganesha’s Birthday. The Hindu God Ganesh with the Elephant head is a popular God among the Hindus. He is also known as the God of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune.His birthday falls during the Hindu Month of Bhadra (August-September). This ten day long festival is celebrated with fervour all over the country but more so in the western part of the country, especially Maharashtra.

The History

It is believed that Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, was born on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. Thus, the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on this chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi.

Parvati, in the absence of Lord Shiva, used her sandalwood paste to create Ganesha and put him to guard while she had gone for bathing. While she was gone, Lord Shiva got into a fight with Ganesha as he did not allow Shivato enter, as per his mother’s orders. Enraged, Lord Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati saw this sight, she took the form of Goddess Kali and threatened to destroy the world.

Shiva right away sent out his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. Well, the first living creature happened to be an elephant. As instructed, theganaschopped the elephant’shead and brought it back to Shiva. Shiva placed it on Ganesh’s body, and brought him back to life.All the Lords blessed Ganesha and the day is celebrated as his birthday. Ganesh Chathurathi owes its origin to the Maratha Reign, where Chatrapati Shivaji started the festival.

The Festival

Ganesh Chaturthi is a time of immense excitement. People bring home idols of Lord Ganesh and worship it in a special way. The worship cum celebration is done for a day and a half, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, or 11 days according to the family tradition. It is believed that the Lord brings in good fortune and prosperity with him. On the last day, the idol is taken out in a lively, colourful procession and immersed in the sea. This symbolizes seeing -off the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Mount Kailasas hetakes away with him the all the troubles of man.People of all community celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi Festival.

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However, today large public pandals (temperoryshrines) are created and large clay idols are installed and worshipped for ten days. Various poojas are performed among the chanting of Vedas. Various kinds of sweets especially Lord Ganesh’s favourite Modaks are offered to him and the devotees. During the ten-day festival, such venues also serve as camps for charity tothe poor.Medical camps, blood banks, dramatic performances etc. can be seen all over the celebrations.

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