TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Last updated on – 18 September 2023 at 21:00 IST
Importance of foods offered to Lord Ganesha
One of the most widely celebrated festivals in India, Ganesh Chaturthi is a time of joy, devotion and cultural enthusiasm. It marks the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the revered elephant-headed deity, who removes obstacles and is a harbinger of good luck. Devotees from all walks of life come together to worship Lord Ganesha with great enthusiasm during this auspicious occasion. An important aspect of these ceremonies is the preparation and offering of various foods to the deity. Below is a list of five popular foods offered to Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi and the reasons behind these offerings. (Images provided by: Canva)
Modak, a sweet dumpling, is undoubtedly Lord Ganesha’s favorite food. It is prepared in various forms, the most common being steamed or fried. The outer crust is made of rice flour or wheat dough, while the inner filling is usually made of jaggery and grated coconut, flavored with cardamom and other aromatic spices. Modak is not only delicious but also holds deep spiritual significance. It symbolizes the intelligence (outer layer) and beautiful devotion (inner filling) offered by a devotee to Lord Ganesha. The shape of the modak is said to resemble the belly of Lord Ganesha, which adds to its sanctity.
Coconut, often served whole or grated, is another important food item offered to Lord Ganesha. Coconut is a symbol of purity and prosperity in Hinduism. Its hard outer shell represents the ego that must be broken to reach the pure, divine inner self. Breaking a coconut signifies surrendering one’s ego to Lord Ganesha and seeking His blessings for spiritual growth and prosperity. Additionally, the nutritious white kernel found inside the coconut is a symbol of purity and nourishment.
Durva grass, also known as Bermuda grass, has a special place in the worship of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is believed to be particularly fond of the Durva herb, and offering it to him is considered very auspicious. Durva grass has three blades symbolizing the trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Offering Durva grass to Lord Ganesha signifies seeking forgiveness for any mistakes or unintentional sins committed during worship. It is an act of purification and a way to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha for a new beginning.
Laddu, a round and sweet delicacy made from various ingredients such as chickpea flour, sugar and ghee, is a popular offering to Lord Ganesha. Not only is it delicious, it also represents the sweetness of devotion and the rewards of a pious life. Ladoos are often associated with the concept of ‘prasad’ – food that has been blessed by a deity and considered sacred. Offering ladoos to Lord Ganesha symbolizes seeking His blessings for a life filled with sweetness, joy and spiritual prosperity.
Banana is a simple but important offering in the worship of Lord Ganesha. Bananas are considered a symbol of simplicity and humility. When devotees offer bananas to Lord Ganesha, they are expressing their desire to approach the deity with a pure and humble heart. It is a reminder that material possessions and ego should not get in the way of one’s devotion. Lord Ganesha, known for his humility, easily accepts this simple offer from his devotees.