Vrat-Festivals | Festivals
Panch Ganapati, a five-day festival, is a Hindu festival in celebration of Lord Ganesh, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. Think of this as the Hindu Christmas, a modern winter holiday full of family-centered happenings, but with five days of gifts for the kids, not one. From December 21 to 25 Hindu worship Lord Ganesh, the Lord of culture and new beginnings. Family members work to mend past mistakes and bring His blessings of joy and harmony into five realms of their life, a wider circle each day: family, friends, associates, culture and religion (like Holee in Northern India).
During each of the five days of Panch Ganapati, a special Saadhanaa, spiritual discipline, is focused upon by the entire family. Because of the festival's importance as a new beginning and mending of all past mistakes, a shrine is created in the main living room of the home and decorated in the spirit of this festive occasion. At the center is placed a large wooden or bronze five-faced statue of Panch Ganapati. If this is not available, any large picture or statue of Ganesh will do. Ganesh is often depicted as coming from the forest; therefore, pine boughs (or banana leaves) may be used. Flashing lights, tinsel and colorful hanging ornaments may also be added to them. Each morning the children dress or decorate Ganesh anew in a different color: golden yellow on December 21, then royal blue, ruby red, emerald green and finally brilliant orange. These are the colors of His five powers, or Shakti.
Each day a tray of sweets, fruits and incense is offered to Ganapati, often prepared and presented by the children. Chants, songs and Bhajan are sung in his praise. After Poojaa, the abundant, diverse sweets are shared by one and all as Prasaad. Each day gifts are given to the children, who place them before Panch Ganapati to open only on the fifth day. Gifts need not be extravagant or expensive; they should be within the means of each family. Ganesh does not want gift-giving to promote Western commercialism but to further the great Hindu culture. Greeting cards, ideally made by the children, offer Hindu art and wisdom, such as verses from the Ved.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/29/13