Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated as an ode to Lord Ganesha. He is known to be the remover of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences alongwith being a God of intellect and wisdom. Ganesha is known to be one of the most favourite gods in Hinduism and is loved by many Indians. He is the God of new beginnings and is honoured during the start of rites and ceremonies. Worshippers tend to bring the idol home or install it at pandals for a period from 1 – 10 days. Ganesh Chaturthi has been celebrated in India since the times of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as a social and public event, however in the 19th century, freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak championed the celebration again as a public festival that unites different factions of the society.
There are nine forms of Ganesha which are worshipped to keep away nine types of evils. They are as follows:
1. Bala Ganapati: Worshiped to get rid of malicious, selfish, envious, jealous behaviour.
2. Taruna Ganapati – Worshiped to get rid of intoxication.
3. Shakti Ganapati – Worshiped to get rid of delusion, distraction, hallucination, inability to discriminate, etc.
4. Santhana Ganapati – Worshiped to get rid of greed.
5. Ucchishta Ganapati – Worshiped to get rid of anger and wrath.
6. Lakshmi Ganapati – Worshiped to get rid of wish and desire.
7. Vijaya Ganapati – Worshiped to get rid of anything that binds or fetters the soul i.e. the outer world.
8. Maha Ganapathi – Worshiped to get rid of ego.
9. Chintamani Sametha Siddhi Ganapathi – Worshiped to get rid of previous birth’s bad experiences.
Modak is the sweet of choice during this festival and is widely savoured. It is a sweet dumpling stuffed with jaggery and coconut is either steamed or fried. Ganesha’s penchant for the sweet has earned him the moniker Modakpriya.
With marked awareness about the various harmful effects caused to the water bodies created due to the immersion of the Ganesh idols made by plaster of paris, there is now a surge of eco-friendly Ganesh idols as well.
Namma Bengaluru, recorded history by simultaneously creating Green Ganeshas and thus making it to the Guinness record. 2138 Bangaloreans participated in this activity at National College Grounds.
Fashion has explored mythological themes as well, one being the eccentric Manish Arora for his Spring/Summer 2015 Paris Fashion Week Collection. Lord Ganesh has been depicted on various fashion accessories like:
No matter how we choose to celebrate the festival, we will wait for it with bated breath to ring in the festivities every year with new devotion, faith and learnings.