: Throughout Goa
: 10 Days
Also Known As
: Vinayak Chaturthi
One of the most popular Gods in India, lord Ganesh or Ganpati is considered a symbol of wisdom and a bringer of good luck. It is said that his elephant head epitomises everything related to wisdom-small shrewd eyes, long ears that miss nothing, a long nose that can smell out anything fight and his vehicle, a mouse, reflects how much importance a wise man gives to the smallest of life forms. Shown at gateways and on doors, either by visuals or symbols, generally facing the rising sun in the east, Ganesh is revered across India as a great clearer of obstacles. Meetings, gatherings, weddings, functions and celebrations begin with a prayer of lord Ganesh and no new venture-be it a new company, a new house, a new shop is inaugurated without reciting a 'mantra' of lord Ganesh.
Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most popular Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha and falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of 'Bhadrapada' (August - September). Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated throughout India, as well as by the devoted Hindus all across of the world.
Lord Ganesha (The Lord Of Power And Wisdom)
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is
worshipped first in any prayers. His names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun and also before any kind of worship is begun.He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of
"Skanda" or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Uma Devi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.
Ganesh Chaturthi festival comes on the 4th day of Bhadarva Shukla-Paksh of Hindu calendar in (August/September). Ladoos (sweets) are distributed, milk is offered to idols of Lord Ganesh at home and at temples, and worshippers visit Ganesh temples for Ganesh Puja. This elephant-headed god, vehicle is the Mooshak or rat and loves Modaks (round sweets called Ladoos).
Myths & Beliefs of Ganesh Chaturthi
There is very popular legend regarding why one shudn't look at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. Lord Ganesh is very fond of sweet pudding or Ladoos. On one of His birthdays he was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings. Having eaten a good number of these, he set out moving on his mouse at night. Suddenly the mouse stumbled as it had seen a snake and became frightened with the result of that Ganeshji fell down.
His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganeshji stuffed them back into his stomach and, caught hold of the snake and tied it around his belly.
Seeing all this, the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh. This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed him immensely and so he pulled out one of his tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name.
In India, Ganesh is worshipped first on all auspicious occasions, whether it is a marriage or a religious function. Ganesh is the foremost god of the Hindu Pantheon. Any new project or venture that a Hindu family undertakes starts with his name, the housewife utters his name before even starting a small chore as he is the remover of all 'Sankat' (obstacles) and is an extremely benevolent god, fulfilling the wishes of those who pray to him sincerely.
Ganesh also has long been associated with commerce, and merchants still pay homage to him. If an Indian business or bank fails, all the images of Ganesh in the offices will be turned upside down, signifying the bad luck. In households, it's common for small offerings of money, flowers and food to be placed before one of the family's effigies of Ganesh. These tokens please him and he therefore brings more beauty, money and food to the family.
Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting and decoration and Ganesh is fervently worshipped for about 7-10 days. On the day of the Chaturthi, i.e. the last of the days dedicated to the god, shrines are erected, firecrackers let off, huge images of Ganesh are carried in grand procession for 'Ganesh Visarjan' accompanied by the sound of devotional songs and drums.
On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, meditation on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha use to start early in the morning. Then, after taking a bath, devotees go to the temple and offer prayers to Lord Ganesha as well as offering Him some coconuts and sweet pudding. If one prays with faith and devotion then He may remove all the obstacles that one experiences on the spiritual path.
At home, people decorate the floors of their houses with "Kolams" (designs) using rice flour. A fresh image of Ganesha in clay is made and worshiped on this day. A decorated umbrella is placed behind the idol. On a wooden plank, plantain leaf is placed and raw rice is spread over it. The idol is placed on the plantain leaf and decorated with flowers. Then the puja is performed, One hundred and eight different names of the Lord are repeated after the preliminary ceremonies and 108 different flowers are thrown in worship over them. Different varieties of sweet puddings are prepared and offered to the Lord. Different varieties of fruits are also offered. After the puja people listen to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel. Then they bow to the Lord to seek His blessings. Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.
After being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, the idol is taken in a grand procession and immersed in the sea. Yudhisthira, the hero of the Mahabharata, Damayanti, the queen of the Nishada King Nala, Indra, the Lord of Heavens and even Krishna, the expounder of the Bhagavatgita are said to have devoutly worshipped Ganesha to obtain their desired ends.