I believe that sharing the knowledge of culture, values and festivals around the world makes children more sensitive and empathetic to their surroundings. Instilling religious tolerance from an early age makes them grow up to be better human beings. Keeping this in mind, I explain the essence of all the festivals to my children.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus around the world; it is specially celebrated in a grand way in Maharashtra, India. Well, Ganesh Chaturthi is a subject of inquisitiveness for my son and unlike Mumbai kids, he has not got a chance to celebrate the festival with so much grandeur. Here is how I explained to him about Lord Ganesha.
Here are 10 easy to understand fun facts about Ganesh Chaturthi for children-
- Lord Ganesha is the most popular and lovable Hindu God. He is known for his wisdom and level headedness.
- Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as Lord Ganesha’s birthday by Hindus across the globe. Devotees bring home colourful and beautiful Ganesha idols.
- The festival usually lasts for 10 days and nights. People offer prayers, modaks, play with colours and sing devotional songs on this auspicious occasion.
- Then the idol is carried in a musical procession and immersed in water while chanting Ganpati Bappa Morya. This process is known as Ganesh Visarjan.
- Lord Ganesha is an elephant headed god. Elephant is considered as the largest, intelligent and friendly of all animals. Simlarly, Lord Ganesha is gentle and loving towards his devotees.
- He is worshipped prior to all Hindu gods. He is believed to be a harbinger of good fortune. We can see his images on marriage invitation cards.
- He is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati . He has one brother named Kartikeya.
- Lord Ganesha is also known as Vighnaharta because he is considered to be the remover of all evils and troubles.
- Ganesha rides the mouse and it signifies the victory over ego. Here, mouse symbolises the ego of the man.
- He is also known as Ekdanta because of his broken tusk.
3 popular stories of Lord Ganesha for children
1) Ganesha – a loving son
- Ganesha had one brother named Karthik (also known as Murugan or Skanda), both brothers were strong and intelligent but had a different physical appearance. Ganesha had an elephant head and a huge belly whereas Karthik was a good looking boy.
- One day the Devas gave a divine fruit of knowledge to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The parents were confused whether to give the fruit to Ganesha or Karthik because it was impossible to cut and divide the divine fruit.
- The divine parents decided to hold a competition between the two children. They asked the children to take three rounds of universe and the winner would receive the fruit as a prize.
- Karthik quickly rode on his peacock and left to take rounds of the universe. Ganesha knew that he could never beat Karthik while riding his slow mouse.
- Lord Ganesha was witty and intelligent. He found a solution to his problem- he walked around his parents three times with great love and devotion.
- When asked by his parents about the reason of doing so, Lord Ganesha said that his parents are his universe.Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha.
Moral of the story– Always respect your parents. Second moral is that we should use our wisdom maintain our calm composure in even challenging times as it helps us to overcome the problems easily.
2) How Ganesha got his elephant head-
- Goddess Parvati felt that she had no one trustworthy and loyal. So she created Ganesha by taking turmeric paste and breathing life into it.
- One day when she was preparing for bath in Mount Kailash she asked Lord Ganesha guard the door and let no on enter the home.
- Lord Shiva came home and wanted to enter the home but he was stopped by Lord Ganesha. This made Lord Shiva furious.
- Lord Shiva beheaded Lord Ganesha with his trident. Goddess Parvati was bereaved on sudden death of Lord Ganesha so to console her Lord Shiva got the head of an elephant and attached it to the body of Lord Ganesha.
- Lord Shiva infused life into Lord Ganesha and blessed him with strength and wisdom.
Moral of the story– Your mother’s love can do wonders for you.
3) Ganesha and the curse of the moon
- Lord Ganesha was once offered a lot of modaks. He was very fond of sweets and he ate more than his normal capacity. He was unable to walk because of over eating.
- He began to ride his vaahan the mouse. Suddenly the mouse got frightened after seeing a snake. This made Lord Ganesha fell off the mouse.
- Unfortunately the moon caught sight of him and started mocking him.
- Scoffed at by the moon, Lord Ganesha cursed the moon saying that the moon would be invisible from that day on.
- After pleading forgiveness by the moon, the curse was made lighter. Lord said that the moon will grow thinner on each day of the month and remain invisible on one day of the month known as Amavasya . This day of the month is still considered inauspicious by Hindus.
Moral of the story- Be kind and forgive those who realise their mistakes.
3 Popular books on Lord Ganesha for kids
- Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth (Hardcover,, Kindle, Paperback edition )
Age 3-8 years
Cute Ganesha breaks his tusk while eating a super jumbo jaw breaker laddoo. Eventually he meets an old man (Sage Vyasa) who helps him use his tusk to write 100,000 verses of Famous Hindu Epic- Mahabharat. Children will be enamoured by the description of Lord Ganesha as a normal child who is playful, uses his trunk to sprinkle water, plays with bat and rings bells. He also rides a cute mouse which has a special liking for laddoos. Colourful, vibrant and vivid illustrations by Sanjay Patel are USP of this book and infuse life into this book. They are enough to hold the attention of a young kid. It is a must read for your child as it will strike a chord with any young child. Truly captivating!
- Amma, Tell Me Aout Ganesha! (Paperback edition)
Age- 3-9 years
Bhakti Bapat is the author of Amma Tell Me Series of books on Indian mythology and festivals. Amma, Tell Me About Ganesha! Is a story of Ganesha’s birth and how he got his elephant head. You can read this story to your child if you think he won’t be frightened by the theme of the story as it has illustrations depicting the scenes about beheading of Lord Ganesha. All in all an enthralling story!
- Elephant Prince- The story of Ganesha (Hardcover)
Age- 4- 8years
The author has beautifully retold the story in a child friendly way, here Lord Ganesha is not beheaded by Lord Shiva but his head turns to ashes due to Shani’s gaze. Hindu mythology has various versions to a story and this is one of the version of how Ganesha got his elephant head. The pictures are stunning and shimmering artwork on illustrations is captivating for the kids. Absolute delightful read!
(There are different versions of a story in Hindu Mythology. Most popular versions have been picked up, keeping the children in mind)