Ganesha Chaturthi is the day of revering the birth of Lord Ganesha, which is celebrated every year on Shukla Paksha Chaturthi (4th Waxing Moon) in the month of Bhadrapada (Aug – Sep). The festival lasts for ten days and culminates with immersion or Visarjan of Ganesha idols in water bodies on the 11th day of Ananda Chaturdashi. People chant ‘Ganpatti Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya (All Hail Ganesha! Please come next year)’ enthusiastically during the public procession of the idols to the ocean.
Here are some fascinating facts about Ganesha Chaturthi, the birthday of the God of wisdom, luck and abundance:
Today’s grand celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi is attributed to the efforts of the legendary freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak. In 1893, Tilak organized public celebration of Ganesha’s birthday, as an effort to unite people of different castes and classes together and instill the feeling of patriotism amongst the masses.
Modak or dumpling id Ganesha’s favorite and is a must dish to be offered to Lord Ganesha on his birthday. Owing to his love for the sweet stuffed steamed rice balls, Ganesha is also called as ‘Modakapriya’.
Ganesha Chaturthi is the day of resurrection of the young boy Ganesha with an elephant head, after being beheaded by Lord Shiva. The day also holds significance that Lord Shiva announced Ganesha as the chief of his Ganas (army) and all Gods, except Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati.
Ganesha is often depicted with a single tusk and this form of the Lord is called as Ekadanta. There are many legends associated with it. One of them states that Ganesha threw his tusk at the Moon for mocking him of his plump figure. He also cursed the Moon will not appear in the sky thereafter.
After Moon pleaded him persistently, he lessened the curse. However, it is still considered a bad omen to sight the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi as it is believed to bring defame.
Lord Ganesha is praised with 108 names implying his special powers, of which few are: Vigana Harta - remover of obstacles, Buddhi Pradaayaka - giver of wisdom and intellect, Pramukha – supreme head of the universe, Prathama – First among all and Shripati – lord of fortune.
There is a common belief that Ganesha is a bachelor; however he is at times depicted with his two wives – Riddhi and Siddhi, who were created by Brahma. Riddhi stands for prosperity and wealth, Siddhi stands for knowledge and wisdom. One who worships Ganesha will also receive the blessings of his wives.