Know why Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated?

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, The God of wealth, sciences, knowledge, wisdom, and prosperity. Hindus remember beloved Elephant-headed Lord Ganesh and seek his blessings before starting each and every important work.

Among various stories behind his birth, two of them are the most common. As per the first story, Lord Ganesh was created by Parvati out of dirt from her body in order to guard her in the absence of Shiva. She gave him the task of guarding her bathroom door while she was taking bath.

Lord Shiva returned home and Ganesh, who was unknown about Shiva stopped him from going inside. The angry Shiva then severed Ganesha’s head. Maa Parvati came to know about this and ask her son back; Lord Shiva then promised to get Ganesha back to life.

The devas were sent to search for a child’s head facing north but they could only find an elephant’s head. Shiva fixed the elephant’s head on the child’s body, and that is how Ganesha was born. The next story explains how the Devas requested Shiva and Parvati to create Ganesha so that he can be a Vighnakarta (creator of obstacles) for rakshasas (demons).

There are four main rituals that are performed during Ganesh Chaturthi. They are namely– Pranapratishhtha, Shhodashopachara, Uttarpuja, and Ganpati Visarjan.

The excitement of Ganesh Chaturthi settles in weeks before the festival actually begins. Artisans start preparing clay idols of Ganesha in different poses and sizes

The Ganesha idols are installed in beautifully decorated ‘pandal’ at homes, temples, or localities. A ritual called Pranapratishhtha is observed where a priest chants a mantra to invoke life in the diety.

Prayers are offered to Ganesha’s idol in 16 different ways. This ritual is called Shhodashopachara. People celebrate by singing or playing religious songs, dancing to drum beats and by lighting up fireworks- all of which add to the festive mood.

The Uttarpuja ritual is then performed which is about bidding farewell to Ganesha with deep respect. This is followed by Ganpati Visarjan, a ceremony wherein the statue is immersed in water.

While carrying the statue to the sea and while immersing it, people generally chant in the Marathi language ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya’ which means ‘Goodbye Lord, please come back next year’.

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