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It is that time of the year again, when the beloved elephant-headed deity brings people across all castes, class and religion together. Ganesh festival, also known as Vinayaka Chathurthi, is a spectacular Indian festival celebrated with much enthusiasm.

This is the only Indian festival which is celebrated by the community, where the young, old, rich and poor, everybody comes together and celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Unlike other festivals, Ganesh pooja is not just about worshipping the lord and eating prasadam, it is much more than these things. Here are some very interesting things to know about Ganesh Chathurthi, which makes this festival unique and different from all other Indian festivals.

1. Even though Ganesh festival has been celebrated for very many years, it gained popularity only in 1890s when Lok Manya Tilak urged the masses to unite and celebrate this festival. The reason for doing so, was to bring people together and instill patriotism in them.
2. The Ganesh idols are often made of mud, china clay or plaster of paris. However, the scriptures suggest that the idol must be made using mud/clay only.
3. This scared festival is celebrated anywhere between 1 to 11 days depending on the family’s traditions.
4. Modak is a special delicacy made of jaggery, coconut and rice flour. This sweet is believed to be a favorite of Lord Ganesh, and hence all households prepare this sweet dish and offer it to the lord.
5. It is considered a bad omen to see the moon on Ganesh Chathurthi. There is an interesting story behind this belief, the moon apparently laughed at Lord Ganesh for falling off his vahan, the mouse. Lord Ganesh enraged by the moon’s behavior, broke off his tusk and threw it at the moon, cursing him never to shine again. This is the story behind the broken tusk and the bad luck of looking at the moon on this day.

These are some of the many stories about Lord Ganesh and Ganesh Chaturthi. These stories and his attributes make him one of the most loved deities in India. So, now that you know a little more about the festival, you can go ahead and celebrate it with religious fervor and gaiety. Happy Ganesh Chathurthi to all!

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