Lord Ganesh or Ganesha is an important deity in Hindu mythology. Lord Ganesh is in a human form but with the head of an elephant and he is worshipped before important auspicious events in every Hindu home.
Legend has it that Goddess Parvathi moulded Ganesh from the Sandal paste she had for taking bath.
Then she left him in the doorstep to guard her when she is taking bath. Lord Shiva who did not know of this episode cut off the head of Ganesh on seeing him in the doorstep. When he came to know about the truth, he cut the elephant's head and gave his son.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration of the birth of Lord Vinayaka or Ganesh who is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi.
On the day of the Ganesh festival sweets like laddoos and modaks are offered to the Lord as these are his favorite food and then distributed to the people. After a final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor, the Ganesh idols are worshipped and taken through the streets in a procession and immersed in nearby lakes or rivers or sea or water-bodies.
According to the popular belief, Lord Ganesh descends on the earth on Ganesh Chaturthi to stay with his devotees for the course of ten days and clear all their obstacles in life .
Worship of Lord Ganesha has attained lot of significance as a remedy for various astrological problems. Lord Ganesha becomes an effective remedy related to Moon, Mercury, Mars and Ketu. Tuesday and Wednesday are said to be very favorable days for worshipping Lord Ganesha and for performing related remedies.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days in which life-like model of lord Ganesha is made and placed at home or in outdoor tents, i.e. Sarvajanik mandals where people pay their homage to the Lord. Vedic hymns and Ganapati atharva shirsha Upanishad and Ganesha stotra from Narada Purana are chanted. On the last day, the image is taken through the street to a river or a water body that symbolizes misfortunes of all man.
Chant this mantra to Lord Ganesha to seek His divine blessings -
वक्रतुंड महाकाय सूर्यकोटी समप्रभ ।
निर्विध्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा ।।
vakratunda mahakaya surya koti samaprabha |
nirvighnam kurume deva sarva karyeshu sarvada ||