Ganesh (Elephant God), festival or Ganesh Chaturthi – this is a Hindu festival and it is the celebration of Ganesha to earth from Kailash Parbat with his mother Goddess Parvati/Gauri. The festival takes place by installing a Ganesha made out of clay murti at home privately and publicly by Bal Gangadhar Tilak or knowns as Lokmanya Tilak in Pune city in 1893 to elaborate on pandals or stages. Pune city where I grew up and has so many memories.
It’s a ten day celebration where people chant mantras and prayers and offerings during these ten days and on 11th day the clay murti of Lord Ganesha is immersed in the water such that the clay dissolves and it is assumed that Lord Ganesha has gone back to his home to Kailash Parbat.
The Elephant God is considered to be the lord of new beginnings and also the one who removes all obstacles and God of wisdom and intelligence.
“Most festivals are wrapped up in tradition and are tied to the past. People add special foods and celebrations to make festivals most memorable and exciting.”
These are all mythological stories that we grew up listening to but we enjoy these festivals, as everything has its special way to do things, what you offer during the prayers – the sweets and modak and then the ten days just swifts by quickly.
Most of the states in India celebrate this festival and being in Maharashtra I have seen as a child attending all the pandals in the city where different Ganesh murti’s are kept with different decorations, lightings some of which will light as per the music that is being played and there used to be competition as who got the best decorated and the best one gets a prize too.
Last year with pandemic lot of things were not celebrated publicly and even the private ones were not the one where anyone was invited to homes. This year, since most of the friends are vaccinated hence I had the opportunity to visit two of my friends house for Ganesh puja.
The reason could be Lord Ganesha but it really brings the festivity in among everyone and it fills with happiness and galore where friends visit, help with decorations, cooking and making special offerings and when you do all this together as a team it brings a different kind of joy.
“Feasts and festivals are a feature of all major religions.”
This Ganesh festival there’s lot more to be thankful based on the time that we are living in and I was so happy to learn how to make modak (dumplings with sweet inside as stuffing made out of jaggery, coconut and sesame seeds). Being with friends, and getting ready for the event all this brings the sweet memories of Pune that I grew up watching and doing things closely during the Ganesh Festival.
These days with environmental concerns people have found innovative ways to make the idols such as either you make it with chocolate so you’re not disposing it to the environment or sometimes they are made out of dirt and a seed will be inside so that you just plant it on the 11th day and this way no sea, or river water is polluted with its immersion.
At the end like I said its mythological story and how much we have to follow the old ways is up to us. As long as we don’t harm the sea animals and the environments everything should be a celebration and joy with greeting friends and eating along with them as one family.
Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudchya Varshi Laukar Ya!!!
(The prayer Meaning is : Lord Ganesha the father of everyone, who was worshipped by Morya Gosavi, should return soon next year).
“Festivals are happy places, and you don’t really want to enjoy them on your own.”