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Your Questions About Ganesh

Betty asks…

What is the importance of Ganesh festival ?

Animal Deities answers:

Ganesh Chaturthi is an occasion or a day on which Lord Ganesha makes his presence on earth for all his devotees. It is not the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). While held all over India, it is at its most elaborate in Maharashtra, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. This typically comes sometime between 20th of August and 15th of September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi.

During the festivals, a household makes offerings in front of a statue of Shri Ganesha. The worship happens for 1 day in South India, but in western states of Maharashtra and Goa, the worship may last from 2 to 10 days.

The main sweet-dish during the period are modaks, also known as modagam [kozhakottai] in South India and karanjis. A modak is a sort of dumpling made from rice flour with a stuffing of coconut, jaggery and some other condiments. It can be either steam-cooked or fried and the coconut can be fresh-grated or dried-grated. A karanji is similar but has the shape of the 4th day moon.

There are also public celebrations of the festival, with local communities (mandals) vying with each other to put up the biggest idol. The festival is the time for a lot of cultural activities like songs, dramas and orchestra.

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