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Origin of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesha, is one of the most popular Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India and by Hindu around the world. Ganesh Utsav falls on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the month Bhadrapada (August-September). The origin of Ganesh Chaturthi also explains why Ganesha has an elephant head.

According to Hindu Mythology, once Lord Shiva was out hunting with his ‘Ganas’ or attendants. Parvati, Shiva’s consort, was alone and desired to take a bath. But since there were no attendants to guard the entrance of the house, Parvati created a handsome young Ganesha from mud and asked him not to let anyone inside.

Soon, Lord Shiva returned and found an arrogant guard stopping him from entering his house. In a fit of fury, Lord Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head.

When Parvati came to know about the fate of Ganesha, she was overwhelmed with grief and Lord Shiva soon realized the grave mistake had committed in anger. He asked one of his Ganas to bring the head of the first animal he saw sleeping with its head towards north.

The Gana returned with an elephant’s head and Shiva placed it on Ganesha’s body and restored his life.

All these extraordinary events of Parvati creating Ganesha from mud and Lord Shiva chopping Ganesha’s head and replacing it with an elephant’s head took place on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the month Bhadrapada (August-September).

The large scale public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 in Pune. The main intention of Tilak was to galvanize support for India’s independence movement. The modern day celebrations are a continuation of Tilak’s version of Ganesh Chaturthi festival.