Ganesha Chaturthi is, no doubt, one of the grandest festivals in India. Hindus in India look forward to this 10-day festival that celebrates the birthday of their favorite deity, Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is the deity of new beginnings and the one who removes all obstacles. He is also the god of wisdom and intelligence. All new ventures are started by offering worship to this endearing elephant-headed deity, as it can bring success. His vahan or vehicle is a rat, and he is said to love modaks and laddoos.
Not many know that the Ganesha Chaturthi festival is closely tied to India’s fight for Independence. But that is just one of many interesting facts about this festival. Given below are five interesting facts about Ganesha Chaturthi.
1.The First Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Lots of people believe that Ganesha’s birthday, Ganesh Chaturthi, was first celebrated during the rule of the Chalukya, Satavahana, and Rashtrakuta dynasties, between 271 BC and 1190 AD. Actually, the first historical record of the celebration goes back to the period of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Ganesha was regarded as Shivaji’s Kuladevata or family deity. Chhatrapati Shivaji, who founded the Maratha empire, celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi in Pune in the 1600s. Since then, the festival continued under the Peshwas.
2.Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations
Ganesha was a popular deity worshipped across the length and breadth of India. But Ganesh Chaturthi was more or less a low-key affair. In 1893, the renowned freedom fighter, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, turned what was previously a private celebration into a grand public event to unite the Indians against the British. To prevent mass gatherings that they felt might turn into protests or riots, the British issued orders that Indians should not meet in large groups, except for religious purposes. So Tilak had a brainwave. For Ganesh Chaturthi, he erected huge hoardings of Ganesha on pavilions in Mumbai. He also encouraged the installation of large Ganpati statues and public celebrations. All this fostered a sense of patriotism in the people and also gave them a legitimate excuse to come together without fear of getting arrested.
3.Ganesha Worship In Nepal, Thailand, China, Cambodia, Japan, & Afghanistan
Lord Ganesha is worshipped not just in India but also in countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Nepal, Afghanistan, etc. But his depictions tend to vary in each region. His posture and the weapons he holds are different. In China, a deity called ‘Kangi Ten’ is worshipped. They are 2 elephant-headed figures locked in an embrace. Lord Ganesha also features in Indonesia’s Rs. 20,000 currency note. In Cambodia, a God called ‘Prah Kenes’ is worshipped. Cambodian Ganesha images during the pre-Khmer Rouge period portray him with wide, fan-like ears, and he has no neck, headdress, or no-pot belly.
4.It’s Unlucky To Gaze At The Moon During Ganesh Chaturthi
During Ganesh Chaturthi, Hindus take care not to look at the moon, as it’s considered unlucky. Hindu mythology says that once, Ganesha was riding on his mount, the rat, after a feast. On sighting a snake, the rat became alarmed and dropped Ganesha. Due to the strong impact of the fall, his stomach burst open, and its contents fell out.
Ganesha gathered all the items like laddoos and modaks and stuffed them back into his belly. Then he tied the snake like a rope around his belly to hold it together. Chandra, or the Moon, saw this and laughed. A furious Ganesha broke his tooth and hurled it at the Moon. He also cursed the Moon that he would never shine again. The contrite Moon sought his forgiveness, and the curse was revoked. But even now, looking at the moon during Ganesh Chaturthi is regarded as a bad omen.
5.Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal
One of the oldest Ganesha mandals in India is Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal. It came up in 1934 in the Peru Chawl locality, but in 1932, the chawl was shut. The locals of the area were fishermen and vendors. They promised to get a Ganapati and install it in the place. The first-ever Lalbaugcha Raja was installed by fishermen. The Kambli family of Mumbai has been designing and creating the Ganesha idols since 1935. Lalbaugcha Raja is famous for hosting the longest Visarjan or immersion procession in India. It begins at 10 am in the morning and ends the next morning. The second-longest immersion procession is in Andhericha Raja.
Ganesh Chaturthi 2021/ Vinayagar Chaturthi 2021 is on September 10.
Ganesha Chaturthi marks the birthday of Ganesha, the most important day in the year to welcome Ganesha into your life and receive his blessings to fulfill your desires and grant success, prosperity, and new beginnings of all kinds. This year, AstroVed is celebrating Ganesha’s birthday as a 3-day grand event with three grand Fire Labs invoking obstacle-removing and problem-solving Ganesha called Sankashtanashana Ganapati, nine popular Ganeshas at temples across India, followed by Supreme Ganesha called Maha Ganapati for success, knowledge, and overall prosperity. Concluded with a grand Hydration ritual by chanting the 1000 names of Ganesha, these targeted ceremonies invoke Ganesha’s blessings to bust your karma, solve problems, and remove obstacles to success and overall well-being.
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