Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: Everything behind the Hindu festival from history, legends to significance and celebrations

Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day long Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God Ganesha’s birthday who is believed to be the lord of beginnings and the remover of obstacles.

FP Staff August 28, 2019 12:22:10 IST
Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: Everything behind the Hindu festival from history, legends to significance and celebrations
  • Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day long Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God Ganesha’s birthday

  • This year the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations will begin from 2 September

  • The festival lasts for 10 days and ends on Ananta Chaturdashi with the immersion of idols in local water bodies

Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 | Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day-long Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed deity, Ganesha’s birthday. Being the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Ganesha is believed to be the lord of wisdom and intelligence in Hindu mythology. He is also considered the God of beginnings and the remover of obstacles by devotees. Apart from his birth, Ganesh Chaturthi also marks the day when Lord Shiva declared Ganesha to be above all Hindu Gods. This year the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations will begin from 2 September.

Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 Everything behind the Hindu festival from history legends to significance and celebrations

Representational image. AFP

History and significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha from the dirt on her body, and told him to guard the door while she was having a bath. It was at this point that Lord Shiva returned to their residence, and when Ganesha stopped him from entering, an angry Lord Shiva cut off his head in the combat between the two.

To calm a furious Parvati, he promised that he would bring Ganesha back to life. To restore Ganesha's life, he found a dead elephant’s head and fixed it on him.

Another legend around Ganesha’s birth suggests that he was created by Shiva and Parvati on request of the Devas, to be a 'vighnakartaa' (obstacle-creator) in the path of 'rakshasas' (demons), and a 'vighnahartaa' (obstacle-averter) for devas and devotees.

How the festival is celebrated

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated at a grand scale in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Telangana, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh. Outside India, it’s widely celebrated in Nepal’s Terai region, and by Hindus in the UK, US and Mauritius among other countries.

Days before the actual worship, homes are cleaned and marquees erected at street corners to house the idols of the Lord and elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration, mirrors, and flowers.

The festival lasts for 10 days and ends on Ananta Chaturdashi with the immersion of idols in local water bodies. In Mumbai alone, more than one lakh idols are immersed annually.

The longest immersion procession is that of Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja, which starts at around 10 am and ends the next morning, taking nearly 24 hours followed by the procession of Mumbai’s Andhericha Raja, which starts at 5 pm and ends early morning next day.

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