Celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi

The birth of Lord Ganesha is celebrated by Hindus worldwide in an 11 day festival know as Ganesha Chaturthi. The festival takes place during the Hindu month of Bhadra. In 2012 the celebration will begin on
September 19 and end on ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’ (September 29th). Ganesha, the elephant God, is one of the most iconic and easily recognizable Hindu deities. He is the Lord of success, intelligence, wisdom, education,
prudence, luck and fortune. Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and the destroyer of evil. He is the patron of the arts, science and education. Ganesha is honored and worshipped with affection at the start of any auspicious event or work. According to legend Ganesha was created by the Goddess Parvati. She formed him out of sandalwood and from the dirt of her body. She then gave Ganesha a breath of life and placed him by the door to her bathroom to Unknowingly, Ganesha stopped Vishnu, Parvati’s husband from entering her quarters. This infuriated Vishnu and in an act of fury he severs the boy’s head. Once Parvati learns of Ganesha’s fate she is totally consumed with grief. To soothe his wife, Vishnu orders his guards to bring back the head of the first sleeping creature they see. The guards find an elephant and return the head to Vishnu who then attaches it to Ganesha body and brings him back to life.

May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!

The festival begins with the erection and decoration of giant Ganesha statues throughout the towns, villages and in homes. Contests are held for the biggest and best displays. A Next, a chanting ceremony is performed by a priest dressed in a silk dhoti to bring the spirit of Ganesha into the statues. Red unguent, a paste of sandalwood and kumkum, is then rubbed on the statues. Prayers and offerings of rice, coconut and sweets are made for the next 10 days. On Ananta Chaturdashi, the 11th day, devotees parade their statues through the streets while singing and dancing; making their way to the nearest ocean, river or body of water. The statues are then immersed into the water and Ganesha is sent back to the heavens taking with him devotee’s troubles and leaving behind his blessings.