Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god is characterized by numerous attributes, his elephant head being the most noticeable. Known as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, he is also the deva of intellect and wisdom. Ganesha is also invoked as the advocate of learning. Traditionally, prior to school starting children pray to Lord Ganesh for any obstacles to be removed. As the god of beginnings, he is also honored at the start of every religious ritual and ceremony.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the festival that honors Lord Ganesha. A ten day festival is held where clay sculptures of the god are installed in temples and homes. On the last day there are grand celebrations, street parties and feasts as the idols are taken to sea to be immersed in water.
Due to his elephant head many kids are attracted to the plump, sweet loving god. My husband tells me stories about when he was a child and how he would go sit at the clay makers shop next door to his house. The clay maker would let him help mold the ears and other simple parts. As evening struck my husband would plead and beg his mom to take home one of the Ganesh Idols. Even to this day my in laws always remember my husbands childhood antics surrounding the festival.
Celebrating these festivals with young kids doesn’t always have to be an elaborate affair. You can do arts, crafts and other simple activities to involve them. Here are some fun ideas to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with your little ones.
Bake & Decorate Elephant Sugar Cookies
Make a Ganesh Idol out of clay (or playdoh)
Print & color in Ganesh pictures
Make Lord Ganesh’s favorite dessert – modaks (sweet pastries)