There is a vibe that comes in with the onset of Ganesh Chaturthi and that vibe is full of pure love and warmth. Lord Ganesha is worshipped, not only in India but all over the world, especially in Hindu dominated countries. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is here and people are all set to welcome Lord Ganesha at their homes.
Ganesh Chaturthi has been celebrated since the time of Shivaji, the founder of Maratha empire. Though the reason behind celebrating this festival is unknown, it is believed that these celebrations are a way to honour the spiritual presence of Lord Ganesha in our lives. With the advent of British empire in India, this festival nearly faded away but was again revived by a freedom fighter and social reformer, Lokmanya Tilak.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day festival with four main rituals. First is the Pranapratishthha, which is the process of infusing the spirit of Lord Ganesha into his idol. Second is the Shhodashopachara, which indicates the 16 different forms in which people pay tribute to the Lord. Third ritual is called Uttarpuja which is a worship after which the idol can be shifted from one place to the other. And the last ritual is the Visarjan wherein Lord Ganesha’s idol is immersed into the river or sea.
The earliest mention of Lord Ganesha has been made in the oldest religious text of the world, the Rigveda. Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. One of the two versions of the story of his birth reveal that Goddess Parvati created him out of her body dirt while taking a bath and made him stand guard on her door until she finished off with the bath. Shiva returned to Parvati after a long time during that period. Ganesha didn’t let him enter Parvati’s cave which angered Shiva, who severed the head of Ganesha. Parvati was heartbroken. Shiva promised her that he would revive her son. The Devas searched all over for a head that faced north of the dead person but could only manage to get an elephant’s head. Shiva fixed the head of the elephant to Ganesha and brought him back to life.
The second version of Ganesha’s birth states that Ganesha was brought to this world by Shiva and Parvati on the request of the Devas who were looking for someone who would create hurdles for the demons and thus save the Devas from the obstacle they faced in the form of such rakshasas.
On the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi today, people have welcomed Lord Ganesha into their homes in all pomp and glory. The following 9 days will be filled with joy and celebrations all over. On the last day people will bid farewell to Lord Ganesha by immersing his idol in water. But this will only serve as a promise from Lord Ganesha to his followers to come back next year with the same festive frenzy.