History of Ganesh Chaturthi

Just like other Hindu festivals, Ganesh chaturthi history is also rich and inspiring. Ganesha Chaturthi, also known as Vinyaka Chaturthi or Vinyaka Chavithi, is a celebration which commemorates the birth of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Because he is considered to be one of the most important gods in Hinduism, this celebration is also one of the most important festivals in India. According to the Hindu calender, it is held on the fourth day in the month of Bhaadrapada. On the Gregorian calendar, it is held between the twentieth of August or the fifteenth of September. In Maharashra and Andhra Pradesh, this festival spans as long as ten days. Read on to know the history of Ganesh Chaturthi.

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Photo Credit: Khairatabad Ganesh (from wikipedia)

Origin of Ganesh Chaturthi

This Ganesh Chaturthi festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesha. According to legend, Parvati wanted someone to guard her while she was taking a bath while Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of Resolution, was away for work. When she could not get someone, she thought of creating a son; so she breathed life into an idol made of sandalwood paste and named him Ganesha. She immediately gave him the task of standing guard and refusing entry to anyone.

However, when Shiva returned home, Ganesha refused entry as his mother had ordered. This infuriated Lord Shiva, and he cut of Ganesha’s head in anger. When Parvati saw her beheaded son, she became Goddess Kali and attempted to annihilate the earth, the heaven, and the netherworld.

In order to save the world, Lord Shiva ordered his followers to behead the first child they find while his or her mother was not looking. The first child they saw was an elephant, so it was this head that Lord Shiva fitted onto the body of Parvati’s son. Parvati, upon seeing her son, was overcome with happiness and called her Ganesha, which means “the Lord of all Ganas or followers”

History of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which was traditionally celebrated as a private family occasion, was transformed into a community event in 1893, when a social reformer by the name of Lokmanya Tilak redefined the social relevance of the annual Ganesh festival to unite the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins in society. Because Lord Ganesh was known as the “God of Every Man”, Tilak chose this festival to bring people together. Since then, it has become a public meeting ground of people of all communities and religions. Now, this festival is known as a joyful celebration because people of all ages can participate regardless of caste and community. And every year of celebration is considered as part of Ganesh chaturthi history and will be passed to several generations.