Pancha Ganapati

The second son of the God Shiva and the Goddess Parvati is, himself, a very important God in the Hindu pantheon. If there can be a favorite God among Indians, he is likely that son, Ganesha. Ganesha is also known as Ganesh and Ganapati.

The God who sports the head of an elephant is the god of wisdom and caution. More famously, Ganesha is believed to be the god of success and the remover of obstacles. Anytime a new venture is begun, maybe the construction of a house or building, starting a business or embarking on a vacation, prayers and veneration in honor of Ganesha are performed.

Ganesha is most popular in Western India, especially in Maharashtra State. During my visit to Mumbai (Bombay) I saw numerous shrines to Lord Ganesh. I was deeply curious, so I made short visits to many of them and engaged in conversations with the devotees. They confirmed that Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular Gods in that nation. Also, during my visits to various temples to other Gods, I couldn’t help but notice that the Ganesha temples seemed somehow more opulant, fresh and well cared for.

That brings me to today’s holiday, the Pancha Ganapati Celebration. The closest I can come to describing Pancha Ganapati in western terms is that it is observed like a cross between Hannukah and Christmas. Not religiously like those two holidays, but in form.

The Hindu holiday is a combination of Ganesha worship, gift giving and celebration in the way only Indians can party. Pancha Ganapati takes place over the next five days. Each of the days family members, usually children, dress the family’s Ganesh statue in differently colored clothes.

 

Today, is yellow day, dedicated to repairing dysfunctional relationships. Forgiveness is the aim of the day.

December 22nd is the blue day. Love and harmony with neighbors are the goals. The offering of apologies and the settlement of misunderstandings are performed.

December 23rd, Ganesha is dressed in red. Employees, employers, merchants, customers and the public at large are honored. The aim is to settle debts and disputes.

December 24th celebrates the color green. Traditional art, drama, music and dance take center stage. The enjoyment of each others’ talents are stressed. Also, readings of the Dharma (teachings) are done.

December 25th, Ganesh is dressed in orange clothes. This is when Ganesha’s radiance, love and harmony in the universe are recognized. Family and friends vow to improve their lives in ways such as correcting bad habits. This is also the time when devotees give thanks for blessings they have received during the year.

In the evening of the 25th. The main puja (ceremony) is performed celebrating the restoration of peace, love and harmony. The traditional feasting follows the puja, then the opening of gifts. The final ritual of thanksgiving to Ganesha is then made.

What a delightful way to celebrate the holiday season!

Ciao

The Blue Jay of Happiness refers you to a favorite story about Lord Ganesha at this URL:   http://www.pantheon.org/articles/g/ganesha.html

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
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