Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begin

September 3rd, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Pratibha Patil

New Delhi/Mumbai, Sept 3 (ANI): The week-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival, that marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha, began with merriment today in different parts of the country. President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the nation on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.
In her message, Patil said, “Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival, which brings people together in an atmosphere of happiness. During the period of the festival this year, the people can be more aware about the environment, by celebrating it in an environment friendly way.”
In his separate message, Ansari said Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birth of Lord Ganesha who is the embodiment of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
The Prime Minister said, “Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival, which brings people together, reaffirms the secular traditions of India and celebrates the spirit of brotherhood.”
During the festival, Ganesha idols are worshipped at hundreds of ”pandals” or makeshift tents before they are immersed in water bodies.
Considering the recent terror attacks in the country, security has been beefed up in Mumbai.
CCTV’’s have been installed at the pandals apart from routine fire extinguishing devices and other safety measures.
Policemen have been deployed to guard the pandals. They have also been stationed around the city at crowded places to keep a check on any untoward incident.
Ganesh Chaturthi for years was a personal and private affair. But at the turn of the century, freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak started using it as a platform for political propaganda against British colonial rule.
The festival is hugely popular in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Legend has it that Hindu Goddess Parvati had created Ganesh from a perfumed putty-like substance, used to remove dirt from her body in an ancient self-cleansing ritual, the equivalent of a modern bath.
Parvati’’s husband Lord Shiva, one of the three most powerful Gods in the Hindu pantheon, flew into rage and beheaded the young lad and barred his entry into Kailash, Shiva’’s snow-clad mountain abode.
When he later realised that the boy was created by his wife Parvati during his absence, Shiva brought him back to life by slaying an elephant and giving him the animal’’s head. Thus was created Ganesh, one of the best-loved of Indian gods. (ANI)

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