Bhubaneswar, Sept 15: Ganesh Chaturthi, a cherished Hindu festival, commemorates the birth of Lord Ganesh, the revered deity of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune.
This year, the festivities are set to commence on September 19 and conclude on September 28. Devotees across the globe unite to pay homage to Lord Ganesh during this ten-day celebration, which marks his birth during the Shukla Paksha of the Bhadrapada month, concluding on Anant Chaturdashi, also known as Ganesh Visarjan Day.
Throughout this grand festival, worshippers offer prayers and a delightful array of delicacies to seek the blessings and favor of the Elephant-headed God. Among these delectable offerings, the modak stands as a traditional favorite, believed to be Lord Ganesha's cherished sweet treat.
Let us delve into the significance of modaks in the Ganesh Puja:
Why is Modak Offered to Lord Ganesha?
One of the charming folktales surrounding this tradition recounts the story of Queen Menavati, Lord Ganesha's maternal grandmother. Filled with affection, she used to prepare ladoos to satiate his growing appetite. However, as Ganesha's appetite grew with his age, it became increasingly challenging to produce ladoos as quickly as he devoured them. Queen Menavati then ingeniously switched to crafting modaks, a swifter alternative to appease her beloved grandson. Interestingly, during Ganesh Chaturthi, it is customary to offer 21 modaks before the Ganesha Idol.
Another enchanting legend provides deeper insight:
Devi Anusuya, the wife of the ancient Rishi Atri, extended a heartfelt invitation to Lord Shiva, Parvati, and Ganesha for a meal. She set a condition that everyone would be served only after Lord Ganesha was fully satisfied. As Ganesha relished his meal heartily, he repeatedly requested more food. Despite Lord Shiva's growing impatience, he patiently waited. Anusuya then served Ganesha just one piece of sweet realizing that Lord Shiva would have nothing left to eat due to the insatiable hunger of the young Lord. Ganesha, upon consuming this morsel, let out a resounding burp, signifying his contentment.
Interestingly, Lord Shiva burped a total of twenty-one times, mirroring Ganesh's burps. Goddess Parvati was captivated by the sweet dish that had so promptly filled Ganesha's stomach. Upon discovering it was a modak, she expressed her desire that Lord Ganpati's devotees offer 21 modaks to him—one for each burp Lord Shiva had produced. This tradition has since been faithfully passed down through the generations, ensuring that the modak remains an integral part of the Ganesh Puja celebration.