Ganapati Bappa Morya!
Bappa is everyone’s favorite and we eagerly wait to celebrate him every year. Ganesha is an elephant-headed god, a remover of obstacles, and teaches us the wisdom of living. Ganesha is one of the best-known and most easily recognizable Hindu deities.
In India, Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi (Or Chavithi) is celebrated across different states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, etc. This is the long-celebrated festival which lasts for 9 days. As per the Hindu Calendar, this festival is celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada which falls between August and September.
India is the land of different religions and cultures. Every religion mark itself for its traditions, customs, and unique style of commemorating the festivals. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is one such festival observed by every Hindu. This festival is said to be the Birth of Lord Ganesh, who is the prime god of any new beginning. Lord Ganesha is also called the God of wisdom and education. People celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi and worship the god for 9 or 11 days, especially during the festival. They believe that lord Ganesh blesses them with good health and prosperity.
We all know that during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, we worship the god for 9 days and call it “Ganesh Navratri.” This tradition of celebration first began in Pune in Maharashtra. During the time of Chatrapati Shivaji, Ganesh Chaturthi has been publicly commemorated. This is first bought by Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak.
There are many stories surrounding the birth of Lord Ganesh. We all know that Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi.
One day Parvathi while going to take bath, thinks of having some privacy. There is no one dedicated to her to guard the entrance and Parvathi with a wish to have one dedicated guard, takes the turmeric applied on her body and molds an idol. Parvathi then breathes life into that turmeric mold and is named Ganesha. To mark the birth of Ganesha, we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi beginning this day and lasting for 9 days.
Parvathi when lord Shiva is away appoints Ganesha to guard the entrance and not allow anyone to enter her house. Ganesha stays at the entrance dedicated and sends back all whoever comes to meet Goddess Parvati.
When Lord Shiva returned, willing to meet Goddess Parvathi, Ganesha stops him as he was advised by Parvathi ma to stop from entering House. Lord Ganesha was so stubborn that he did not allow Lord Shiva to enter and that led to a tussle between them. Initially, Lord Shiva with his pleasant tone tries to convince little Ganesh but he kept on refusing him. Eventually, Lord Shiva got furious and destructed Lord Ganesha cutting his head off.
Knowing this Goddess Parvathi rushed towards Ganesha and explains to Lord Shiva all her demands Ganesha followed. Goddess Parvathi asks Shiva to bring back life to her dearest son who never missed to obey her. Knowing the truth, Lord Shiva orders his followers to get the head of the very first dead animal they encounter in the direction of North. Lord Shiva’s followers get the Elephant’s head and then he brings life to Ganesha.
The festival of Bappa includes 4 distinct rituals. Pranapratishtha, Shhodashopachara, Uttarpuja, and Ganpati Visarjan.
In Pranapratishtha, the birth of Ganesh is symbolized by creating idols. These idols are placed in mandaps and homes offering the pooja for 9 days. Prayers are offered by devotees by singing devotional songs and chanting hymns.
In Shhodashopachara, 16 types of prayers are performed including offering different types of fruits, flowers, leaves, and Prasadam especially Modaks(Undrallu).
The last phase is called Uttarapuja which takes right before the immersion of the Ganesh Idol. On this day, the Ganesha idol is taken to immerse in the nearby Lake or River.
Ganesha is associated with Knowledge, Wisdom, and Prosperity.
Lord Ganesha symbolizes many life lessons and is hence considered the lord of wisdom and knowledge. As we heard from many Puranas, Lord Ganesha is the lord of new beginnings and is worshipped before every new event or beginning. He is believed to clear the obstacles. Ganesha is said the patron deity of students and hence worshipping him brings success in careers and achieve success in their lives.
We celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi a day or two days before the actual festivals. We conduct a special assembly for the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturti.
The young children of Walkertown Academy are profound to take the DIY activities and get the best out of their work. We teach them why Ganesha is worshipped every year by giving them mythological stories and narrations. We also organize cultural performances to tell them the significance of Lord Ganesha.
We not only make it an entertainment day but also, embeds the students in the importance of Indian customs and traditions to follow, their scientific significance, etc. This year we explained the importance of clay Ganesha to our students who showed the utmost interest in making the Bappa idols.
Finally, on this Ganesh Chaturthi – We wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous time.
How do you celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi? Tell us in the comments below!