Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Vinayaka Chathurthi- A True Celebration
Today is "Ganesh Chathurthi" aka Pillayar Chathurthi all over India. This is one of the most sought after popular festivals where controversies from other non-Hindu political parties etc may be expected.
In South India, Lord Ganesha is invoked at the beginning of every major venture and is considered the "remover of obstacles" and hence takes the name "Vigneswar". Colorful umbrellas and garlands adorn the small mud or clay Vinayakas in homes. The day is a government holiday and every member of the family is home to celebrate the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Mouth watering rice balls named as "Kozhakatai" is prepared along with favorite fruits that are kept as offerings to this Lord.
In Mumbai and Pune, this is a major festival- an event marked for a 10 day celebration. Huge Ganesha Idols of about 20 feet of clay are mounted and people chant "Ganapathi Bappa Morya" and gather in huge groups to perform puja and aarathis for this Lord Ganesh. The Vishva Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena are most proud of this event and flant their religious passion amidst the rest of the nation. After the 10 day celebration, a grand procession marks the carrying of the Vinayaka Idols to the sea where they are drowned in the waters.
On this festive note, i have to bring in my personal experience with this God. For those of you who aren't familiar with the famous Alsa Mall shopping complex in Egmore, Chennai-there exists a shop called Santa Claus 88 owned by Santosh Shivaraman. The shop cells beautiful glass items amongst other gift handicrafts and one such piece is the "Lucky Ganesha." (first picture on this page)
This Lucky Ganesha was once gifted to me by my friend saying that it brings good luck for the person who gifts it as well as to the one who receives it. From then on, i have developed this habit of visiting the shop often to buy this piece and gift it to all my friends and well-wishers. Although, the Ganesha is available in several other stores now, i find the atmosphere and the significant story behind the "Lucky Ganesha" told at this shop to be impressive and personal. The shop has Ganesha in various forms such as playing drum, cricket etc, but the small and simple glass Ganesha is indeed a precious belonging that i always treasure.
Happy Ganesh Chathurthi and may luck and prosperity be with all who atleast remember this day exists....