Wish you all a very blessed Ganesh Chaturthi, today is the day when we celebrate the birthday of Lord Ganesha, son of Mother Goddess Parvati, though officially he is Lord Shiva’s son too but as per the myths Mother created him on her own.
The stories that Bengali mythologies say goes like this- Lord Shiva was immersed in a meditation (or was out on a trip as per some versions), Mother Goddess got lonely and she created a beautiful boy, Lord Ganesha. Then came the time for celebration, all the Gods and Goddesses were invited to bless the boy.
Amongst them was Lord Shani, this God turns everything to ashes by just one glance. He was Mother Goddess Parvati’s patano brother- that is, they were not siblings but Mother Goddess and He were bonded like brothers and sisters. That happens in India all the time. I had a few of my own, who came to our house on Rakhi and Bhaidooj- two festivals where sisters celebrate their brothers.
So Shani (or Saturn) naturally came to bless the child, and he had to look at him to bless of course, the second he looked at the boy his head reduced to ashes. Grief-stricken Parvati was inconsolable, Lord Shiva asked his consorts to go out and bring back the head of the first creature they meet sleeping with his head towards the south (the abode of God of death or Yama is in southern fringe of earth as per Bengali mythologies) and feet towards the north. They came upon a white elephant sleeping like that and brought his head back.
The boy was resurrected and everyone was happy again!
Lord Ganesha is very popular amongst Hindus for many reasons. He is the giver of success, true wisdom and every other luck involved with performance of tasks.
This God is very easily pleased, but in case you plan to start worshipping him remember one thing, you have to offer food to him, twice daily if you worship him. Once in morning and once in evening! What food? Hindus can’t offer everything in Prasad, or food for Gods, there are some limitations, so to be on safe side, if you can’t manage anything else go for dry fruits. They are available everywhere, raisins, nuts…
On Ganesh Chaturthi this generous God is lavished with Modaks, laddus, a special sweet made by Indians, it is in the hand of the deity, I wish I had taken a closer shot! In one of his hands there is a laddu, that laddu is distributed as Prasad after the immersion. Its smaller versions are available in every sweet shop in India. Mostly throughout the year.