What is it about Ganesh Chaturthi that makes us wait for it for an entire year. We go to Ganesh temples all year. We have so many Ganesh specific sacred days that we celebrate throughout the year. Then, why this peak of excitement during Ganesh Chaturthi festival? For some it’s a sacred relevance of the festival, for some it’s a way of saying thanks to the Lord for their respective wish fulfilment and for some it’s a sheer joy of bringing home a Lord amongst them as family and honouring him with worship and his favourite feast. Whatever reasons are, the pure joy of having a Lord amongst us even for a short span is in itself a highly elevating experience. It is the festival of bringing the Ganesh idol made out of earth in any desired fashion or layout. Puja known as Pranprathishta is then performed with mantras to infuse a life in the idol. Celebration of worship then begins either for one day or three, five, seven or ten days. In between, Lord Ganesh’s mother Gauri arrives and is sent off along with Lord Ganesh in a ‘Visarjan’ (immersion) from fifth to seventh day.
All of this worship and celebration by having the Lord between us is surreal experience. It’s very close and personal. But this festival is also celebrated on a social level. Revered social leader Lokmanya Tilak made it a social celebration during the freedom struggle to bring together people from all stages and strata of life. He united them by having them celebrate this festival as a collective force against the oppressors. It was continued after independence with an ever increasing fervour. Yes, those celebrations have now become commercial in a huge way. But one look at Lord Ganesh, be it anywhere in a pandal or at any home we forget everything else. We go deeper into the reverence for Lord Ganesh and let our joyous fervour celebrate his stay with us making it memorable each and every year.
This is why we wait every year for our lord Ganesh to arrive at our homes or in pandals. It is a pure joy celebration that crosses all barriers and cuts through all segments of society. So, many people from other community and religions join this celebration, thus, signifying the unity of our people. Thus, goes the Ganesh festival celebrations. Happy Ganesh Festival to all.
By Manish Sharma
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)