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Ganesh Festival

As this is our first blog for Holy Cow Home it seems entirely fitting that we begin with a post about Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, who is worshipped throughout the Hindu faith as the God of wisdom, prosperity, good fortune and remover of all negative obstacles. Call us superstitious, but we are rather attached to the idea that Lord Ganesh is looking over us and sending out all his most prosperous and fortune-filled vibes to give us a helping hand on this voyage of discovery we’ve recently embarked upon.

The image of Ganesh (also known as Sri Ganapathi or Sri Maha Ganapathi) that we have in the shop is the most exquisitely coloured print of the elephant-headed deity sitting within a golden lotus flower. He is surrounded by all the gifts brought to him by his devoted worshippers – coconut, jaggery (a concentrated sweet made from dates, cane juice or palm sap), modak (a sweet dumpling made from rice flour with a coconut filling and then fried or steamed), durva (trefoil) blades of grass, red flowers, kumkum and sandalwood paste – and is looking pretty pleased with himself!

As in most religious imagery, every feature has a deep meaning attached to it. Here’s a brief synopsis of Lord Ganesh imagery for those that may not know, to help you understand and, hopefully, enable you to give a new found respect to this God…

  1. His big head is to symbolise enormous knowledge and wisdom. It also indicates that we should always think big, after all, being small-minded doesn’t get you too far in life!
  2. His tiny eyes are for perfect concentration and attention towards the minute details in life. As humans, we often miss the important, smaller details in search of something grander.
  3.  Ganesha’s small mouth signifies that we should talk less. People sometimes love the sound of their own voices, when what we should do is listen more.
  4. Big ears symbolise the discipline to listen (see above…knowledge is power, so listen, be interested and you might learn something new.
  5. His trunk signifies adaptability and high efficiency to be successful in our ventures. The curvature of his trunk is also said to represent the rise ofKundalini which is a primal energy located at the base of the spine. Different spiritual traditions teach methods of “awakening” kundalini for the purpose of reaching spiritual enlightenment, but it’s also said to be the most powerful of all energies, so (*disclaimer alert) before you decide to go off and give your kundalini a wake-up call, find yourself a professional yogi who can teach you how to do it safely!!

6. Ganesha’s big belly doesn’t mean he’s been a greedy elephant God and eaten all the pies, it simply represents that one should learn to accept and digest all that life has to offer – the good, the bad and the ugly.
The big tummy is asking people to grow their acceptance understanding and learn to keep moving forward with whatever they get or have.

7.His single tusk represents that we should retain all the good and give up on all the bad. This can be subjective, but we should do things that keep us true to our conscience.

8.In his right hand he holds a hook (Ankusa) and in his left a noose (Paasa). Ankusa means that you should tame your mind, keeping it under control and closer to you with the help of Paasa. This will help you to concentrate, meditate and contemplate.


9.In one of the lower hands he holds a plate of Modak/laddu. The outer covering of modak signifies the sweet rewards we will get when we travel the path of enlightenment. It also signifies thesathwik aahar (food) we must have to keep our mood refreshed and in a constant state of bliss.

10.In his other lower hand, he holds a lotus that grows in stagnant water but raises above the water line pure and beautiful. This signifies how a wise man can live in the world and remain unpolluted by materialism and negativity.

11..And last but by no means least, the rat, his vehicle. The rat is a symbol of human desires and how the desires grow continuously. The rat is constantly at his feet, that shows we must ride on our desires but keep them under control

Quite an impressive list, but something that all mankind, whether Hindu or not, can learn a thing or two from to grow into the best versions of ourselves we can be.

Another important fact to share with you is the festival to celebrate Lord Ganesh’s birthday, called Ganesh Chaturthi.

The festival is one of the most popular in India and is 10 days long with preparations that start well in advance. Much praying, eating, drinking and devotional activities are performed, but on the 11th day, called Ganesh Visarjan, people take their idols of Ganesh out onto the streets, dancing the Gaati (a crazy and unabashed activity; not for shy, retiring types), eventually submerging him in the river or the sea, which then marks the end of the festival.

In honour of Lord Ganesh’s birthday this year, and to sprinkle some positivity and remove any obstacles in our way on our first year of trading, we will be having an End of Season Ganesh Birthday Sale. Come and visit us at the shop to find a bargain and to say ‘hello’ to Poonam, or Lord Ganesh himself who will be overseeing proceedings and sharing some of his special handmade sweets with you!
Wishing you all a happy and a blessed Ganesh Chaturthi 20xx.