All you need to know about Ganesh Chaturthi fasting
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular Hindu festivals and is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm across the country. Just like Onam is famous amongst Malayalees, Pongal amongst Tamils, Baisakhi amongst Punjabis, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with incredible fanfare across Maharashtra.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped foremost amongst all gods, and is regarded as the god of wisdom, peace and knowledge. On the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees place an idol of Lord Ganesha in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents for people to view and pay their homage.
The preparations for the festival start months in advance. The sculptures start modelling the statues of the deity two-three months prior to the festival. The size of this idol may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet.
Ganesh Chaturthi is mostly celebrated in the month of Bhadra i.e. mid-August or mid-September. For ten days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshiped. On the 11th day, the idol is immersed in a river or sea in a massive procession along with dancing and singing. This ritual symbolises bidding good bye to the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash, while taking away with him the misfortunes of all his worshippers.
Interestingly, it is believed that Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi or Vinayak Chavithi, was first by Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, and the tradition has been continued since then.
hy we celebrate it ?
The festival celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha. According to mythology, Godess Parvati created Lord Ganesha using sandalwood paste and further, she breathe life into this statue. She instructed him to not let anyone enter the premises while she went for a bathe.
Meanwhile, Lord Shiva returned from meditation and was on way to meet his wife, Parvati. Ganesha, unaware that he is his father, stopped him from entering the place. Infuriated, Lord Shiva had a fight with Ganesha, which ended with Ganesha’s head being chopped off.
Parvati got enraged when she got to know about the combat, and she also apprised Shiva that Ganesha was their son. Ergo, Shiva promised her that he would bring their son back to life, and instructed all the gods to look for a head of a dead person. He further instructed that the head of the dead person should be facing the north direction.
The gods could only find the head of an elephant. Shiva replaced the head of his deceased son with that of an elephant and gave him the name Ganesha that means Lord of Ganas- the foremost of God of Hindus. Since then, Ganesha is worshipped before all Gods, as a sign of new beginning and prosperity.
Fasting on Ganesh Chaturthi :
The devotees, who intend to fast on the festival, get up early morning and take bathe. After wearing fresh clothes, they head to the nearest temple or offer prayers to the Lord at home. The prayers include singing aarti and chanting mantras including “Mam Sarvakarmsiddhaye Siddhivinayak Pujanmaham Karishye.” The devotees offer prasad to the deity and seek his blessings.
The followers can either opt for nirjal vrat (waterless fast) or phalahar vrat (a diet). Apart from fruits, sabudana khichdi and curd rice, the devotees can eat sweets including til ka ladoo (sesame sweetmeat), gajak and rewari (sweets made of sesame and jaggery), along with tea and coffee. People strictly restrain from non-vegetarian food and alcohol. It is believed those who fast on this auspicious occasion are blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.
A few recipes…
Start with soaking sabudana overnight. Drain them next morning and keep aside in a bowl. Meanwhile, boil potatoes and when warm, peel and chop them into small pieces.
Take a pan and dry roast peanuts till they turn brown. Then, grind them to make a coarse powder, and mix them with salt and sugar as per your taste. Now, heat oil in a pan and fry cumin seeds till they start to crackle. Add curry leaves, grated ginger, green chillies and stir fry them for a minute. Add potatoes, peanuts, salt and sugar as well, and saute for another minute.
Next, add sabudana and keep stirring it till the time its colour turns translucent. Garnish it with grated coconut and the dish is ready.
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Ganesh Chaturthi Fasting
Start mixing cooked rice with curd. Now, heat oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add urad and chana dal. Stir fry them until they turn golden brown. Add curry leaves and saute them until crisp.
Meanwhile, add coriander leaves, carrots and cucumber to the curd rice mixture. Pour the seasoning on it and mix well. South Indian style curd rice is ready.
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi, everyone!