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Ganesh Chaturthi: of traditions, rituals and a few of Lord Ganapati’s favourite things

One of the most significant and auspicious festivals celebrated with great fervour and tradition across India, Ganesh Chaturthi this year falls on 22-Aug.  The festival which falls in the Bhadrapada month of the Hindu calendar marks the birthday of the elephant-headed God aka Ganapati who is a symbol of knowledge, properity and wealth.   Arguably the most popular of all Hindu Gods, Lord Ganesha is the quintessential symbol of wisdom and the remover of all obstacles.  He is always worshipped first before embarking on any task and paying obeisance to Him ensures the success of any endeavour. Hence, He is rightfully called the Lord of Beginnings.

Elaborate puja, chanting of sacred hymns and offering of some of His favourite food marks the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.  Yellow is known to be the Lord’s favourite colour and modak (rice dumplings filled with a mixture of coconut and jaggery) is His favourite food.  Apart from this, here is a look at some of the things considered auspicious and the God’s favourite.

Durva Grass: A three bladed grass which is considered highly sacred to Lord Ganapati, Durva grass is an offering that is mandatory to the Lord.  It is known to emanate positive vibes and create an energetic ambience all around.

Hibiscus: While orange and yellow marigolds are highly popular during Ganesh Chaturthi, the offering of hibiscus is also extremely sacred.  Brightly coloured hibiscus in hues of red, orange and fuchsia are some of his favourites.

Hibiscus
Hibiscus

Flower of the arecanut tree: An extremely large inflorescence that is wrapped in a hard sheath, the flower of the arecanut tree is considered very sacred and offered to Lord Ganesha in the coastal regions of Karnataka.  This extremely beautiful flower is commonly found in the flowers markets of Udupi and Managalore and offered in temples in this region.

Flower of the arecanut tree
Flower of the arecanut tree
Flower of the arecanut tree above the crown of the Lord
Flower of the arecanut tree above the crown of the Lord

Ekkada hoovu (or Calotropis_gigantea in English) is again considered auspicious and offered to Lord Ganesha during the festival.

Calotropis_gigantea aka Ekkada hoovu
Calotropis_gigantea aka Ekkada hoovu

Chakli: while modaks and motichoor laddoos are well known to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite, Chakli which is a spiral shaped savoury snack made from rice flour is also a popular offering.  Temples in coastal Karnataka offer savoury steamed dumplings called Kotte Kadubu as well to the Lord. They are made from a fermented batter of urad dal (black gram) and grounded rice or idli rava.

Chakli
Chakli

Aralu or Puffed paddy rice: Lord Ganesha’s love for food is immense and while several elaborate delicacies are prepared on the day of the festival, aralu aka puffed paddy rice is His favourite.  Aralu is mixed with coconut, jaggery, ghee and black sesame seeds and served as prasad on this day.

Aralu or puffed paddy rice
Aralu or puffed paddy rice

Last but not the least, He loves bananas too!

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all my readers and hope this festival brings the much needed peace and properity to our world!

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