February 17, 2017: Yasodha Jayanthi
February 19, 2017: Satabisha Karthe, Mangala Vratam, Seeta Ashtami
February 22, 2017: Vijaya Ekadasi
Lord Vigneswara is the only God who could ward off any obstacles that may arise during the auscipicious functions.
This is the first of the Indian festivals that comes throughout the year. Vijayaka Pooja starts will be performed on Bhadraprada Sukla Chavti according to Varaha Purana.
If we perform Vigneswara, all obstacles will go away and no obtcles will come nearer to any one. This pooja is being performed through out the world.
Legends say that Lord Ganapati (meaning "Lord"[pati] of the "semi-devine creatures that serve Shiva"[ganas]) was created by goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath. However, while Parvati was taking her bath, Lord Shiva happened to come there and as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter the house. As a result, Lord Shiva got angry and severed the head of the child and entered his house. But after realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant in place of Ganeshas head. In this way, Lord Ganesha acquired the image of the elephant-headed God.
Lord Ganesh is famous for being a trickster and for his sense of humor. Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati is famous for his wisdom. He has the head of an elephant on which is perched a dainty tiara. Four podgy hands are joined to a sizable belly with each hand holding its own symbolic object. One has a trishul, the second an ankush and the third hand elegantly holds a lotus. The fourth has a rosary. The festival to celebrate and glorify him is Ganesh Chaturthi. During the current year, Ganesh Chaturthi falls on August 23, 2009. Ganesh's head symbolizes the soul. It is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence. His human body signifies Maya or earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and the trunk represents Om, right hand Ganesh holds a goad. It helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesh's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesh holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice. It is said that he broke it for writing the Mahabarata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atma. His fan like ears convey that he hears all our prayers and the snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. He is humble enough to ride the lowest creature, a mouse.
The story of the birth of the deity is depicted in the Shiva Purana. On one morning, Goddess Parvati was going to take bath. There was nobody to guard the door. She created a boy out of the dirt of her body. She assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Lord Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access. He struck off boy's head in rage. Parvathi broke down in utter grief. To soothe her, Lord Shiva sent out his gana to fetch the head of any sleeping being, which was facing north. The guards found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head. It was then attached to the body of the boy. Lord Shiva restored its life. Hence, Lord Ganesh is also called Ganapathi. Lord Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him. They will worship him before undertaking any venture. However, there is another less popular story of his origin. It is found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Lord Shiva asked Parvathi to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Lord Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the Gods and Goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Lord Sun was also present. But he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at his behavior, Parvathi asked him the reason. Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati's insistence, Shani eyed the baby. The child's head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan. Upon this, Lord Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra. From there he brought back the head of a young elephant and joined it to the baby's body thus reviving it. Lord Ganesh is the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. All Hindus worship Lord Ganesh regardless of their sectarian belief. He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all the Hindus.
It is said that anyone who looks at the moon on the night of Ganesh Chathurthi will be falsely accused. If someone inadvertently sees the moon on this night, he or she may remedy the situation by listening to the storey of the syamantaka mani found in the Puranas. The story is that Satrajit had secured a jewel from Lord Sun. When Lord Krishna asked for it, saying it would be safe with him, Satrajit refused to give it. Prasena's brother Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by lion. Jambavant, the Ram Bhakt, killed the lion and gave the jewel to his son to play with. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Lord Krishna of killing Prasena for the same of the jewel. He set out in search of the jewel. He found it in Jambavat's cave, with his child. Jambavat attacked Lord Kirshna thinking him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days. Jambavat was weakened from the hammering of Krishna's fists. He finally recognized Him as Lord Rama. Jamavat repented that he had fought with the Lord. He gave the jewel to Krishna. He also gave his daughter Jambavati in marriage to him. Lord Krishna returned to Dwaraka with Jambavati and the jewel and returned the jewel to Satrajit. He promptly offered to give Krishna the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as his wife but did not accept the jewel.
A life like clay model of Lord Ganesh is made two to three months prior to the day of Ganesh Chathurthi and the size of the idol may vary from ¾ of an inch to over 25 feet. On the day of festival, it is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents. People view it and pay their homage. The priest then invokes life into the idol amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is the pranapratishta. After this the shodashopachara, 21 durva blades and red flowers are offered. The idol is anointed with red unguent. Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns are chanted. They are from Rig Veda, Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad and Ganesh stotra from the Narada Purana. Ganesh is worshipped for 10 days and it is from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi. On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a procession. It is accompained with dancing and singing. It is to be immersed in a river or sea. The ritual is performed to see off the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash. He is required to take with him the misfortunes of all.
Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the following days / dates in the respective years:
2013: September 9, 2013
2012: September 19, 2012
2011: September 1, 2011
2010: September 11, 2010
2009: August 23, 2009
2008: September 3, 2008
2007: September 15, 2007
2006: August 27, 2006