By Nandini Desai
What do you think is everyone’s favorite part of Ganesh Chaturthi? The food of course! There is a variety of delicious sweets prepared during all days of Ganesh Chaturthi, the most popular being modaks. According to Hindu mythology, another name for Lord Ganesha was ‘Modapriya,’ named for his great love of modaks. It is also presumed that modaks are Lord Ganesh’s favorite food. In fact, it is believed that offering twenty-one modaks as a bhog, or food given to please the Gods, can satiate Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva at the same time. This is why devotees prepare several sweet delicacies in these ten days to seek Lord Ganesh’s blessings. However, there are some other yummy foods that are believed to be his favorites as well.
Motichoor ladoos are one example of this. Lord Ganesh’s love for ladoos is recorded in mythology stories themselves, even pictures of Ganesh are not complete without a plate of these sweets! And of course, Lord Ganesh, sticking with the theme of ladoos, also loves puffed rice ladoos, which are also called murmura jaggery ladoos. Ganesha's love for good food was so insatiable that when Kubera invited him for a meal, Lord Ganesha wasn’t happy with the food and wanted to eat more. It was believed that Lord Shiva suggested offering Ganesh some puffed rice with devotion. Right after eating the ladoos, his hunger was satisfied. This is the reason why these ladoos are offered to Lord Ganesh during Ganesh Chaturthi.
Broadening the love of food to other Gods as well, obviously kheer should also be included. Kheer is believed to be God’s most loved food and this is the reason why kheer is an essential part of almost every Indian festival. There are many different variations of kheer, including vermicelli kheer, poha kheer, rice kheer, apple kheer, dudhi kheer and many others. Panchakhadya is another Maharashtrian prasad that is made for Ganesh Chaturthi. Panchakhadya, as you can guess from the name, is made of five ingredients. It can be made of dry coconut, dried dates, jaggery, poppy seeds, and raisins. The ingredients vary from family to family, but nevertheless, it is a delicious prasad that everyone will enjoy. Coconut is considered a “rich” food and a symbol of prosperity so it is included in many of the prasads that are offered to God. Other ingredients are added to make the prasad sweet and yummy.
There are many more foods that are offered to Lord Ganesh during Ganesh Chaturthi, many having their own stories and reasons. The reason why modaks are usually offered to Lord Ganesh is that there is a mention in mythology that Goddess Parvati's mother, Menavati, used to feed modaks to her grandson, Ganesha. To satisfy her son's insatiable appetite, Parvati also started making modaks to keep his stomach full. And that's why, the tradition of making modaks on Ganesh Chaturthi has become mandatory. Of course, every family will celebrate with different foods, but that’s what makes Ganesh Chaturthi unique in every household! However, what is the same for many people is that Ganesh Chaturthi is a time to celebrate Lord Ganesha, eat delicious foods, have fun, and most importantly, spend quality time with friends and family.
Hope you enjoyed Ganesh Chaturthi this year!
Ganpati Bappa Morya!
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