Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is being celebrated across the country with much fervour and enthusiasm. Devotees have brought home beautifully decorated idols of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is considered as the harbinger of luck, success and prosperity. For 10 days, devotees offer a variety of bhogand prasad, and sing hymns in his praise to please their beloved deity. On the 11th day, Lord Ganesha is believed to leave for Mount Kailasha along with all the misfortunes of his devotees and shower blessings on them; the visarjan is as grand as the welcome. Lord Ganesha is one of the most benevolent and loved Gods in Hindu mythology. There are several legends around his love and devotion towards his mother and his love for good food, especially modak. Lord Ganesha grew up to be one of the most intellectual and wise Gods . Concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power) and Riddhi (prosperity) are often linked to the elephant-headed God. These qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses who are considered to be Ganesha's wives. But did you know there is a legend popular in Bengal where the elephant-headed God is said to have a banana tree as his wife, which is also referred to as the ‘Kala Bou' or the Banana bride! And no the alliance may not have much to do with his love for eating bananas.
It is a common ritual in Durga Pooja to transform a trunk of a plantain (banana) tree into a beautiful “Kola Bou”. It is draped in a traditional red-bordered white sari and vermilion is smeared on its leaves. “Kola Bou” is then placed on a decorated pedestal and worshipped with flowers, sandalwood paste and incense sticks. The Kola Bou is set on Ganesha's right side, along with other deities.As per some folklores, when Ganesha set out with his wedding procession, he realised he had forgotten something. On returning back he found his mother Durga eating bowlfuls of rice. When Ganesh quizzed her upon her odd behavior, that why she was adamant on eating all the rice that day itself. Overcome with emotions, Durga laid bare her insecurities and said, “What if your wife doesn't give me enough food”. Hearing this Ganesha stepped out of his home, cut a banana tree and gave it to her saying “this is your daughter-in-law'. He gifted her the banana tree as symbolic gesture to indicate she never had to go hungry. Since then Ganesha's Kola Bou is given due reverence on festive occasions.
Some scriptures suggest that the ‘Kola Bou' represents Goddess Durga herself. Priests tie a bunch of leaves of eight plants (turmeric, pomegranate, wood apple, arum, rice, asok, colacassia and saal) on the trunk of the plantain tree. All nine leaves also known as ‘Nava Patrika' tied together constitute the ‘Kola Bou'. Goddess Durga is the symbol of the bountiful nature and vegetation, and Kola Bou is said to be a mini resemblance of the same.
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 Everybody!
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.