Busy-bee with Vinaay

I absolutely have no time this week. It is Vinaay this Friday - Also known as Vinayagar Chathurthi or Pillayar Chathurthi in the place I live in India. I don't know, since when this was celebrated, but history dates back to Emperor Shivaji's reign (1630- 1680). It is a Hindu festival celebrated all over India, in praise of Lord Ganesha - the elephant-headed God worshiped for all beginnings and wisdom. 

Hyperactive Me:
Last year was my first Vinaay after marriage. By customs, I should have gone to my mom's place with my husband as a newly-wedded couple. It would have been our first festival after marriage. My husband should have had to have got me a gift (Anything - My dad had got mom a mixie for their first Vinaay itseems - those days it was  very expensive and new!) It will be a pride to the girl's family. But yeah, since we were here, it missed off. So whichever year we will be in India for Vinaay next, will be our first.. hehe.
I was new to celebrating a festival all by myself - usually my mom makes sweets, dad the pooja and we all participate. I somehow pulled off to make it a simple, yet memorable one last year. 

Now I am 365 days experienced to cooking and married life. So I cannot find excuses. I try to push myself as much as possible. What work do I have?There is no new Vinaay, but I do have all pooja items and a Vinaay six months old. Yay. We usually buy new Ganesh idiols every year, made of clay, make him sit on Bermuda grass (Arugam pul), decorate with garlands and cook him, his favorite dishes. Along with Vinaay, comes the famous Kandhulo (also called Kozhukkattai) - Its a dumpling, actually! - A sweet dumpling. It is made of rice flour, filled with coconut or jaggery or a combo of both. Yumm .. I am pretty nervous, to be honest as this is my first kandhulo. Tomorrow I will be going to buy the ingredients needed to it. And have to cook the first part of the sweet, so that on Friday, it will not be too much of work. What else? Ah, I have not yet invited my friends, as I am not sure how much of time and energy I have to invest. And most importantly how it will taste. So, let's see how my Vinaay goes.. I will post my Vinaay pics in my next post.

Lord Ganesha - why is he elephant-headed?: Skip this if you know the fable already!
In my childhood, I was always fascinated by Lord Ganesh. He looks so chubby, cute and wow-he has an elephant head. I remember secretly touching his fat belly out of curiosity, as if he would chuckle back. Legend states that Lord Ganesha, son of goddess Parvati, the other half of Shiva - was created out of a sandalwood paste that Parvati used to bath and endured life into the figure. She then put him to guard at her door, while she bathed.

Meanwhile, Lord Shiva who had gone out returned. As Ganesha dint know him, he forbid Lord Shiva from entering Parvati's chambers. Enraged Shiva asked his followers ( known as Ganas) to teach the child manners. However, Ganesha who was very powerful, defeated Shiva's followers and declared that nobody is allowed to enter his mother's chambers, while she was bathing. The chaos and turmoil was growing, with no results to compose the boy. Angered, the King of Gods, Indra attacked the boy with his entire army, but in vain. 

By then, it had become a matter of dignity between Shiva and Parvati. Furious Shiva severed the head of the child. Seeing this, Parvati outraged. Out of his love for her, Shiva then promised to bring her son back alive. He ordered his followers and devas to bring the first head of dead person facing North. They could only find the head of a dead elephant. They brought this head to Lord Shiva and Shiva fixed the head of the dead elephant on the child's body and brought him back to life. Lord Shiva also declared that he would from thereon be called as Lord Ganesha (Meaning: Lord of Ganas).

Pretty long story huh? This is the most re-told story of how Lord Ganesha was born, and this day is widely celebrated as Ganesh Chathurthi. There are other narrations in Linga purana as to why Ganesha is the God of beginnings, good will and wisdom.

Watch the movie:
The story is so beautifully animated in the movie Bal Ganesh. See it for sure, if you get a chance. It is one of my favorites. This is a shorter 15min version of it: Bal Ganesh (2007)Too bad I could not find one with English subtitles. You can still see it, you sure can understand - its animation afterall.

So, See you on Saturday .. Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Deva .. !

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