Vinayaka Chaturthi | Importance & Significance | Essay
We celebrate festivals to mark the glory of gods and goddesses and also to remember their greatness. We seek their blessings to overcome obstacles in life, to seek special powers to win over our enemies, to bless us with heath, wealth and prosperity in abundance.
We also seek blessings for our children to see them perform well in their studies and achieve success in their chosen fields. People pray to Lord Ganesh as he is believed to be a provider in all forms.
We have people not only from the Hindu faith worshiping him for special reasons but also, people from other faiths who believe in Lord Ganesh to bring them good luck and prosperity.
Hindu religion has certain rules and norms when it comes to celebrating festivals. On many of the festival occasions, people observe fasting to please the lord, offer special puja, recite special prayers and only after food is offered to the lord they break their fast.
Festivals are an occasion when the whole family gathers at one place to prepare delicacies that depend on the occasion, to decorate houses etc. In many houses, idols are placed for certain festivals and then puja is performed to the idol.
Right from the youngest member of the house to the senior most members, the faith passes on from one generation to the other and that is how the culture has been retained in the country for such a long time.
Celebrations and observations of certain practices vary across cultures and people have their own customized ways to offer their prayers to God. Some keep it simple; some go a step ahead and do special charity events and donations on big festival days.
Children and elders can be seen wearing new and special, traditional clothes when it comes to festivals. Markets can be seen teeming with new flowers, colorful ones that are brought fresh from the big, supply yards, fruits and vegetables in hordes, and other festival varieties.
Costs related to these items usually sky rocket during festival times, hence as a precautionary measure, people buy essentials pretty early in time before the actual festival season begins.
About Lord Ganesh
Lord Ganesh, people believe since a long time is a provider of their desires. Desire to build a new home, desire to start a new business venture, desire to get their children married, desire to go on a pilgrimage spot – be it any reason or purpose, the first lord hitting people’s minds without a doubt is Lord Ganesh.
The reason being, that in Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesh is bestowed with the special power that he would be prayed and remembered first in any kind of occasion/ celebration or puja. That makes it a very good reason for people to remember him to bring success in whatever they do and ward off any undesired outcomes out of the way.
Vinayaka is Lord Ganesh’s other names. He is also popularly known as Ganapathi, Vigneshwara, Ekadanta, Gajanan, etc. The various forms indicated in his different names symbolize his image and power. Lord Ganesh is popularly known as the elephant God as his ears resemble that of an elephant.
Lord Ganesh is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy. In Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesh provides good fortune, wisdom, luck and prosperity to his devotees when they offer sincere prayers to him and lead life in the right path. He is the one who removes obstacles present in our way and brings happiness within families.
Lord Ganesh’s favorite food is the sweet delicacy named ’Modak’ that is prepared on all his important days. Lord Ganesh is quite popular among children too. Stories of his childhood are told by elders to small children to glorify his amazing power and wisdom that he possessed.
Children pray to lord Ganesh for getting them their tiny little things or to please their Lord to help them get it from their parents.
Importance of Vinayaka Chaturthi
Vinayaka Chaturthi falls on the birthday of Lord Ganesh, which is during the Bhadrapad month and specifically on Shukla Paksha, the day being Chaturthi, according to Hindu calendar. It usually comes in the month of September or October every year. In actual terms, the festival is to be observed for 11 days till Ananth Chaturdashi.
People usually place an idol in their home, offer special puja to the Lord guided by ancient text in scriptures, place colorful and special flowers liked by the Lord, offer special delicacies and fruits to God.
After the Puja, special Aarti is performed for the Lord and many prayers and special chanting in his name are offered.
At evening times, the whole house is decorated and people from the neighborhood are invited to come and have a glimpse of the idol that is placed in respective households and small offerings given to them as well.
It is a big family time when all the members of the house wake up early and have bath, wear bright, new clothes and gather to perform puja. After the puja is over, people usually visit temples of Lord Ganesh to seek blessings from him. They offer special prayers too.
It is believed that on Vinayaka Chaturthi, one should not see the moon as it is going to bring them bad luck / misfortune is some way. The moon is supposed to have humiliated the image of lord Ganesh and due to his anger on the moon; Lord Ganesh cursed him that way.
Once the moon realized his folly, he kept special puja to please the lord and remove the curse that was attached to him. After being successful in his puja, Lord Ganesh again blessed the moon with beauty and wisdom. People read stories of Lord Ganesh and also this particular story which speaks of the moon’s misbehavior with Lord Ganesh and how that was overcome.
This marks the end of the day’s festivities. Puja and Aarti continue for almost 11 days and on the final day, the immersion of Lord Ganesh happens. People having small idols usually immerse in their own buckets at their back yards and people in possession of big idols visit special tanks custom made for immersion.
People bid goodbye to Lord Ganesh with the hope that they will visit him again next year and bring him home in the same way and place a promise on him.
Markets can be seen bustling with activity during the days that lead to Vinayaka Chaturthi. People flock to markets to buy all kinds of festive essentials like flowers, fruits, vegetables, grocery items, idols of Lord Ganesh, special decorative items to deck up the house, etc. People also buy mango leaves and plantain leaves at South India as part of the customary rituals followed.
Children buy new clothes and relatives exchange sweets prepared for the festival. It is mandatory to prepare special savories and dishes fried in oil to offer to God. At some places, people also set up pandals and place a huge Ganesh idol to celebrate his magnificent image.
People arrange for loudspeakers and make sure to offer daily Prasad offered to god to devotees who throng the place. The loudspeakers play many songs in praise of lord Ganesh during the time the pandal is set up there. Usually people set up pandals for almost a week to eleven days before taking it for immersion.
This festival is celebrated throughout the country in quite different ways but the best celebrations take place in Maharashtra where every other street can be seen ready for the festivities.
The festival of Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated in every household today as people believe in the powers of lord Ganesh to ward off evil powers, to remove obstacles in their path and bless them and their families with happiness and prosperity.
Some people believe this festival was initially started by Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak as to signify their protests against the British during the bygone era.
Now it has become famous and customary to celebrate this festival in almost every Hindu household and people seek blessings from lord to achieve success in all their endeavors. The immersion of the lord brings in mixed feelings to people and they hope and wait for his arrival in the following year.