Festivals of India in the month of September
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, also called Vinayagar in Tamil Nadu, is the Hindu festival celebrated on the occasion of birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.
The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).
|Ganesh, Lord Shiva, Mata Parvati|
Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged, severed the head of the child and entered his house. After realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant in place of Ganesha's head. In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.
Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures mandapas (pandals) in every locality. The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions. The pandals are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.
The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modak in Marathi, modakam/kudumu in Telugu, modaka in Kannada and modagam in Tamil). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karjikai in Kannada) which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape.
Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees. This is the ritual known as Ganesha Visarjane in Kannada, Ganesh Visarjan in Marathi and Vinayaka Nimarjana or Vinayaka Nimajjanam in Telugu. At individual homes the Visarjan/Nimajjanam is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya" (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year) in Maharastra and "Ganesh Maha Raj ki, Jai" (lord Ganesha, victory is yours) in Andhra Pradesh. After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the river to immerse it.Today, the Ganesh Festival is not only a popular festival, it has become a very critical and important economic activity for Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore and Chennai. Many artists, industries, and businesses survive on this mega-event. Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public. In Maharashtra, not only Hindus but many other religions also participate in the celebration like Muslims, Jains, Christian and others.
This festival managed to re-establish the unity among the Indians during British Era.
Image curtsy: https://www.google.co.in