Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maharashtra and Vinayagar- Part 1

15 9 10

We all know that Ganesh Chathurthi is celebrated in a grand manner in Maharashtra. Some details on how it all started ....

n 1894, as a protest to a law passed by the British that prohibited Indians from gathering in public places, noted leader of the Indian Freedom struggle, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, initiated a drive to convert the worship of Lord Ganesha as a large scale public event.

What began as an endeavor to propagate a feeling of unity among citizens has now transformed itself into a massive cultural and social affair. Ganesh Chaturthi is singularly the most important religious festival for the whole of Maharashtra. Meticulously decorated pandals with mock ups of places of historical importance, or depicting religious themes or contemporary events mushroom all over the city where devotees throng to pay homage to the Elephant God.

The more mellowed down version of the same involves the head of the family doing a puja within the premises of the residence itself, with other family members in attendance. A popular food preparation during the time of Ganesha Chaturthi is Modak — rice dumpling stuffed with coconut, dry fruits, jaggery, etc. A number of cultural events involving song and dance, dramas, are organized alongside events with a social cause, such as blood donation camps, free medical check ups, etc. On the eleventh day, serpentine processions carry the idol for immersion—a ceremony known as ‘Visarjan’—chanting the name of the Lord and inviting him to arrive early the next year.

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