Magha Ganesh Jayanti 2021: History, significance and all you need to know
February 15 marks the celebration of the auspicious Hindu festival of Ganesh Jayanti, which is the birth anniversary of the elephant God, Lord Ganesh. Across India this festival is known by many different names, Maghi Ganpati, Magha Shukla Chaturthi, Tilkund Chaturthi and Varad Chaturthi.
This festival is primarily celebrated by Hindus in the Maharashtra region of India as well as in Goa. Maghi Ganpati is celebrated on the fourth day of the bright half of the moon’s cycle in the Magh month of the Hindu calendar which falls in January/February, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.
History and significance
Ganesh Jayanti differs from the more popularly celebrated festival of Ganesh Chatuthi which is celebrated across India in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August/September). According to some traditions, Ganesh Chaturthi is also considered the birthday of Lord Ganesh.
Ancient customs dictate that on the occasion of Ganesh Jayanti, devotees are prohibited to look at the moon as it supposedly brings the viewer bad luck and suffering. If any person accidentally views the moon on this day, they have to observe a fast for the rest of the day and offer prayers to Lord Ganesh.
Legend has it that on this day, Chandra Dev, the Moon God, mocked Lord Ganesh’s appearance and teased him about his elephant’s head. Chandra Dev also boasted about his own good looks, which greatly angered Lord Ganesh and led him to curse Chandra Dev. Lord Ganesh told him that from that moment on no one would be able to witness the beauty that Chandra Dev so egotistically boasted of.
Shamed by his behaviour and fearful of the curse, the Moon God begged for mercy. Lord Ganesh then said that it would be impossible for him to take the curse back, but he could alter it. Lord Ganesh instructed Chandra Dev that from that point on, he will have to wax for 15 days and wane for the other 15, ensuring that the moon could only be witnessed in its complete glory for a short time.
In order to celebrate the auspicious occasion, devotees observe a day-long fast and offer prayers to the God of wisdom. Some even bring in new and adorned idols of Lord Ganesh into their home to ensure the prosperity of themselves and their family. Lord Ganesh, who is also known as the remover of obstacles is offered red cloth and sweets. Devotees as the Lord to remove any obstacles from their lives and allow them to follow Lord Ganesh in the path of the light.