Updated – September 2010
Ganesh Chaturthi is an occasion or a day on which Lord Ganesh makes his presence on earth for all his devotees. It’s not the birthday of lord Ganesh. The festival for Hindus is observed in the Hindu calender month of ‘bhaadrapada’, starting on the ‘shukla chaturthi’ [fourth day of waxing moon period). While held all over india, it’s most elaborate in Maharashtra. The festival lasts for 10 days,ending on anantha chathurdashi.
Ganesha Food and Recipes
- 5 Kozhakattai recipes (Modakam, Kadubu) for Ganesha festival is here
- 5 more Ganesha Chathurthi recipes are here
The main sweet dish during the period are modaks, also known as kozhakattai in south india. It’s a sort of dumpling made from rice flour with a stuffing of coconut, jaggery and some other condiments. It can be either steam cooked or fried. A Karanji is also similar but has the shape of the 4th day moon. In Karnataka, Karjikai is made, which is similar to the South Indian Kozhakattai, but here it’s crisp on the outside and with a coconut filling on the inside.
During the festival,a household worships an idol of Ganesha. The worship happens for one day in South India, but in western states of Maharashtra and Goa, the worship may last from 2 to 10 days. There are also public celebrations of the festival,with local communities vying with each other to put up the biggest idol. This fest is the time for a lot of cultural activities.
Story behind Ganesha festival
The story goes that, Lord GanapatiÂ was created by goddess Parvati, wife of lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath.however, while parvati was taking her bath, lord shiva happened to come there and as ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter the house.
As a result, lord Shiva got angry and severed the head of the child and entered his house. But after realizing that he had beheaded his own son, lord shiva fixed the head of the elephant in place of Ganesha’s head. In this way, Ganesha acquired the image of an elephant-headed god.
The Poojas and the offerings
Ganesha is invited with special phrase and with material and verbal offerings, the puja begins; it involves milk,curd,ghee,honey and jaggery with which god’s icon’s washed,cleansing with water in between. Ganesha is then given a red garment and sacred thread-saying it’s silver.
He’s then smeared with red sandal paste and offered some red or yellow flowers. A lamp is lit, bells chime, and food is offered in six symbolic mouthfuls.
He is also offered special leaves 21 of each and white durva grass.The Ganesha mantra is chanted, followed by a ganesha prayer.at the end of the day’s puja, the idol is taken with all flowers and leaves to be immersed into the water. So shed all your worries and have a Great Ganesha Chaturthi this weekend! and don’t forget some of the special Ganesh festival recipes that go with it.