Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the most important and widely observed Hindu festivals. It marks the birth of Hindu’s Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati’s son Ganesh who is considered to be among the most auspicious of Hindu gods. Celebrated in the month of ‘Bhadrapadda‘ as per the Indian Hindu calendar, this day is also known as the Vinayak Chaturthi.
Going by the standard Gregorian calendar, the occasion falls somewhere between August and September every year. Ganesh Chaturthi 2012 will be celebrated on the 20th of September.
Legend behind Ganesh Chaturthi
The story behind the day is also very interesting. It is said that Lord Shiva, one of the most powerful Hindu deities was away from Kailash, his abode and in the meantime his wife Devi Parvati went to take a bath. She needed someone to guard the door as she took a bath, so from her own sandalwood paste she created Ganesha and breathed life into him. Ganesha was made to stand guard with strict instructions to stop anyone who trespass.
When Lord Shiva returned, Ganesha refused to let him enter and an angry & enraged Shiva, beheaded Ganesha. When Parvati saw this, she became furious and threatened to destroy the three worlds of heaven, earth and nether.
All the gods from the three worlds and Lord Shiva were shaken and in order to cool her down and appease Parvati, followers of Shiva were sent to another direction and told to cut off the head of the first child they come across. The followers met with an elephant’s child in the way and brought back his head. Lord Shiva, placed the elephant trunk at the place of Ganesha’s head and restored his life. Parvati named him Ganesha at this moment, meaning the Lord of Ganas (followers).
Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi
The festival is celebrated every year with great pomp and aplomb. The Hindu people, make Ganesha idols and make him sit in their temples and homes.
During Ganesh Chaturthi, they pray to the lord to come back again next year and with this hope, the idols are cast into the deep sea waters (Visarjan), so that the Lord Ganesha is born again next year to give joy and happiness to the world. Like all Hindu celebrations, this too is marked with huge festivities and grandeur.