Friday is the beginning of the year-long festive mood in India as the 10-day long Ganesh Chaturthi takes off with Hindus bringing Lord Ganesh idols home and busy making arrangements for the festival, while the street corners see huge Ganesh idols being displayed with puja to take place in the noon.
Ganesh festival, though traceable to epic times, has become a national festival in 1905 with Bala Gangadhar Tailak and other Maharashtra leaders making it a national symbol to bring unity among the people to fight the British Raj. The public festivals brought together people and helped to inculcate common goal to achieve independence for the country.
Even after Independence, India continued the celebrations in a big way that every street usually brings in their own Ganesh idol and make it a point to involve every household either directly or indirectly. Since worshipping Lord Ganesh is considered auspicious to begin any work, the festival has remained key for Hindus in India and abroad even to this day.
The festival is mainly observed in Maharashtra, Gujarat and South India. It begins today, Friday, August 29 and continues until 8 September, as per the Hindu calendar. Chants of “Ganapati bappa moriya” have already began airing in the streets. Hyderabad, known for huge idols and some of the biggest idols of Ganesha ever displayed, is all decked up for the occasion, especially with Telangana being the new state now.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao has appealed people to use environment-friendly idols in view of the chemicals polluting water bodies when the idols are submerged.
Story Behind Ganesh’s Birth: Known as Vinayaka Chavithi in the south, it marks the birth of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god and son Goddess Parvati.The legend goes that one day Parvati was at home on Mount Kailash, preparing for a bath. She did not want to be disturbed but there was no one to guard the door.
So taking the turmeric paste used for bathing, she created a boy and infused life into him. Parvati declared him as her own son and then asked the boy to guard the door and not to allow anyone to enter the house while she was taking bath. But when Shiva came home and tried to enter, the boy told him he cannot enter his house.
The boy and Shiva then had an argument, which eventually infuriated the god. Shiva cut off the boy’s head with his trishul, killing him instantly. But when Parvati came to know about this, she became so enraged that she decided to destroy the entire universe. Lord Brahma, the creator, tried to reason with Parvati but she insisted that to reconsider the decision, Shiva should bring back the boy to life and he should be worshipped like other gods.
Shiva agreed to Parvati’s conditions but he needed a new head to bring the boy back to life. He asked Brahma and the other gods to bring back the head of the first creature he crosses with its head facing North. They brought back the head of a mighty elephant, which Shiva placed on the boy’s body and brought him back to life. The boy was named Ganesh. Shiva declared him as own son and gave him the status of gods. Seeing Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi Barred?