Ganesh Chaturthi for kids

Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a joyous Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the god of prosperity and wisdom. It begins on the 19th of September, and in some areas of India, the festival lasts for 10 days. How will you be celebrating?

Ganesh-Chaturthi

by Steven McKinnon, Mindful Mum, September 19th 2012

What is Ganesh Chaturthi?

Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival which commemorates the birthday of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha.

The festival is a joyous occasion and usually falls between 19th of August and the 20th of September. It commonly lasts for ten days, though this varies by region and family tradition.

Who is Lord Ganesha?

Lord Ganesha is the god of wisdom and  good fortune, and the son of Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati.

The story goes that Parvati created Ganesha from sandalwood, then instructed him to guard the door as she bathed.

Upon his return, Lord Shiva was refused entry by Ganesha, as he didn’t know who he was. Infuriated, Lord Shiva took his blade and severed the head of Ganesha.

After realising that the boy he killed was his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant onto his body, which is why Lord Ganesha is depicted in this way in Hindu culture.

How is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

In the months leading up to the festival, artisans craft highly detailed, hand-decorated models of Lord Ganesha, which are made for sale. These models may reach anything from three-quarters of an inch to 70 feet high!

The festival is also celebrated with feasts, poetry recitals, dancing and singing.

How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with your little one

Will you be joining in any Ganesh Chaturthi festivities this year? If you’re celebrating at home,  why not try our traditional nan khatai biscuit recipe? Feel free to let your child help!

Nan khatai recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 of a cup of plain flour
  • 1/3 of a cup of semolina
  • Half a cup of gram flour
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of coarse cardamom powder
  • Half a cup of unsalted butter
  • 2/3 of a cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced pistachios

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375F/190C.
  2. Mix the plain flour, gram flour, semolina, baking soda and cardamom powder in a large bowl, and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter (it helps if it’s warmed to room temperature first) and sugar in a small bowl, until it’s light and fluffy.
  4. Add the butter and sugar to the flour mixture, and knead into a dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 24 equal parts, and roll into balls, then flatten slightly with your palms.
  6. With a knife, mark squares into the surface of each piece of dough by  drawing 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines. Place the almonds and pistachios into each of these squares.
  7. Bake the dough on a greased baking tin for 12 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool, then serve. Voila!

Watch a Ganesh Chaturthi video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzvZ1Fd8ICA[/youtube]

Photography: Karunakar Rayker @flickr

+Steven McKinnon

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