Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most popular
Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most
sacred to Lord Ganesha and falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of
'Bhadrapada' (August - September). Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated
throughout India, as well as by the devoted Hindus all across of the
Lord Ganesha-The Lord Of Power And Wisdom
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun and also before any kind of worship is begun.
He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of "Skanda" or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Uma Devi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.
Lord Ganesha is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. On one of His birthday He was going around house-to-house accepting the offerings of swat puddings. Having eaten a god number of these, He set out moving on His mouse at night, Suddenly the mouse stumbled as it had seen a snake and became frightened with the result that Ganesha fell down. His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganesha stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly.
Seeing this the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh. This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed Him immensely and so he pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesha Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill repute.
However, if by mistake someone does happen to look at the moon on this day, and then the only way he can be freed from the curse is by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the "Syamantaka" jewel. This story is quoted in the "Srimad Bhagavatam".
Ganesha and His brother Lord Subramanya once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a circuit of the whole world and come back first to the starting Point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize; of His victory.
Lord Shiva said, "Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the Prize; you did not go around the world?" Ganesha replied, "No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!"
Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.
On the day of Ganesha Chavithi, meditation on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha use to start early in the morning. Then, after taking a bath, devotees go to the temple and offer prayers to Lord Ganesha as well as offering Him some coconuts and sweet pudding. If one prays with faith and devotion then He may remove all the obstacles that one experiences on the spiritual path.
At home, people decorate the floors of their houses with "Kolams" (designs) using rice flour. A fresh image of Ganesha in clay is made and worshiped on this day. A decorated umbrella is placed behind the idol. On a wooden plank, plantain leaf is placed and raw rice is spread over it. The idol is placed on the plantain leaf and decorated with flowers. Then the puja is performed, One hundred and eight different names of the Lord are repeated after the preliminary ceremonies and 108 different flowers are thrown in worship over them.
Different varieties of sweet puddings are prepared and offered to the Lord. Different varieties of fruits are also offered. After the puja people listen to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel. Then they bow to the Lord to seek His blessings. Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.
After being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, the idol is taken in a grand procession and immersed in the sea. Yudhisthira, the hero of the Mahabharata, Damayanti, the queen of the Nishada King Nala, Indra, the Lord of Heavens and even Krishna, the expounder of the Bhagavatgita are said to have devoutly worshipped Ganesha to obtain their desired ends.