I pray that this ‘GANESH CHATURTHI’ festival deepens comradeship and unity more than ever in all of us!
HISTORY OF GANESH CHATURTHI
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the 5th day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapad (September)
Ganesh, the God of wisdom and prosperity, is the remover of obstacles. This is a feast of propitious beginnings. The story goes that Parvati wanted to bathe and kept a clay figure as a guard at the entrance and breathed life into it. Shiva came, but was refused entrance. He got angry and cut off the head of the guard. Parvati was upset. So, Shiva cut off the head of Indra’s elephant and fixed it on the human body, to become Ganesh. The statues of Ganesh are very popular. Prayers and worship are offered for 1 ½ , 5, 7 or 10 days. The statues are then immersed in water in a tank, river or even in the sea. Sometimes the statues are very huge. During the procession ‘Ganpatti Bappa Moraya, pudhcha varshi lavkar ya’ rend the air. Lokmany Tilak gave the festivity a community touch. A big statue was installed and people around came to sing bhajans and stories were narrated.
Festivites are occasions for people to get together. The community and social entertainments – singing, plays and refreshments can be shared by all. Festivities must be occasions when different types of people come together in friendship and a spirit of oneness.
Fr. Dr. Francis Swamy, S.J.