Ganesh Chathurthi Festival, Detroit, MI
The Hindu Temple of Canton
44955 Cherry Hill Road, Canton, MI 48188.
Sri Shirdi Sai Samsthan, Michigan
28875 W Seven Mile Rd, Livonia, MI 48152.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
3175 S. Canton Center Road, Canton, MI 48188. USA.
A Ganesha image worshipped in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Large idols such as this are seen all over Mumbai during the festival.
An elaborate idol of Ganesha at the Kudroli Bhagavathi temple in Mangalore, India.
Street festivities in Hyderabad during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganesha Chaturthi is a Hindu festival of Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees.
It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. It is 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).
The date usually falls between 20 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi.
Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Goa (Biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world), Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas.
Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal which was only Hindu Kingdom in the world and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka.
The origin of the festival lies in the Holy Hindu scriptures which tell the story of Lord Ganesha.
According to the legend, Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of resolution, was away at a war.
His wife Parvati, wanted to bathe and having no-one to guard the door to her house, conceived of the idea of creating a son who could guard her.
Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure.
She then set him to stand guard at her door and instructed him not to let anyone enter.
In the meantime, Lord Shiva returned from the battle but as Ganesha did not know him, stopped Shiva from entering Parvatis chamber.
Shiva, enraged by Ganeshs impudence, drew his trident and cut off Ganeshas head. Parvati emerged to find Ganesha decapitated and flew into a rage.
She took on the form of the Goddess Kali and threatened destruction to the three worlds of Heaven, Earth and the subterranean earth.
The other Gods were afraid and Shiva, in an attempt to pacify Parvati, sent out his ganas, or hordes, to find a child whose mother is facing another direction in negligence, cut off his head and bring it quickly.
The first living thing they came across was an elephant. That elephant was facing north (the auspicious direction associated with wisdom).
So they brought the head of this elephant and Shiva placed it on the trunk of Parvatis son and breathed life into him.
Parvati was overjoyed and embraced her son, the elephant-headed boy whom Shiva named Ganesha, the lord of his ganas.
Parvati was still upset so Lord Shiva announced that everyone who worships Ganesha before any other form of God is favoured. So Ganesh is worshipped first in all Hindu occasions and festivals.
Two to three months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi, life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale by specially skilled artisans.
They are beautifully decorated and depict Lord Ganesh in various poses. The size of these statues may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet.
Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures mantapas (pandals) in every locality.
The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions.
The mantapas are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.
The statues are worshiped with families and friends.
The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes life into the statue amidst the chanting of mantras.
This ritual is the Pranapratishhtha. After this the ritual called as Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows.
Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered. The statue is anointed with red unguent, typically made of Kumkum and Sandalwood paste .
Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.
The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modagam or modakam in South India). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried.
Today, the Ganesh Festival is not only a popular festival - it has become a very critical and important economic activity for Maharashtra.
Many artists, industries, and businesses survive on this mega-event. Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public.
The same holds true for Hyderabad too.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the UK and US by the migrant Hindu population as well as the large number of Indians residing there.
The festival is similarly celebrated in many locations across the world.
The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, an organisation of Hindus based in the US organises many such events to mark the various Hindu festivals.
In Canada Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by various associations of Marathi speaking people. (MBM in Toronto, MSBC in Vancouver etc)
The most serious impact of the Ganesh festival on the natural environment is due to the immersion of icons made of Plaster of Paris into lakes, rivers and the sea.
>City(s) = Detroit, Canton, Livonia; State(s) = MI; Country = USA.
>Title = Ganesh Chathurthi Indian Festival(Shirdi Sai and BAPS), Detroit(Canton), MI, US - Video.
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