Updated 10/10/04
Ganesh curses the Moon

Once, Ganesh partook of a huge meal of modaka (a sweet greatly favoured by him) and was riding home on his vehicle, the mouse. Suddenly, the mouse was tripped by a snake. Ganesh fell off the mouse and his over-full stomach burst open and out tumbled the modakas.
Seeing this comic sight, Chandra, the Moon, burst into laughter. Ganesh got up, picked up the snake and tied it around his waist. (This snake-belt can be seen in many sculptures and images of Ganesh).
He then broke off his tusk and threw it at the Moon, cursing him that he would never again shine at night nor apepar in the heavens. (In those days the full moon shone every day in the year).
The gods in the heavens and the humans on earth found it intolerable to live without the Moon to light up the night sky. The gods rushed to Ganesh and pleaded with him. The kind-hearted Ganesh relented but said that the Moon would no longer shine in full glory every night. He would wax and wane from a bright fortnight to a dark fortnight ending with the Full Moon and the New Moon alternately.
Also, it would not be lucky to see the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi day (the fourth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhaadrapad), as one who does will be the victim of scandal.
This belief exists to this day, and people carefully avoid looking at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi, the day of the festival of Ganesh.
Copyright © Shri Siddhivinayak Temple Trust, Prabhadevi, Mumbai, INDIA.
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Ganesha, in Hindu mythology and culture, is a very important god. The god of knowledge, wisdom, literature, and fire, Ganesha was often consulted for advice. When he was a small boy, he prevented Lord Shiva to enter the bathroom where his mother Parvati was taking a bath. This made Shiva furious and he cut off Ganesha’s head. Devastated, Parvati begged Shiva to help poor Ganesha, so Shiva cut the head off of an elephant and attached the head to the boy. Another unique characteristic of Ganesha is that he has four arms. In one of his hands, he holds a conch shell, in another a discus, in a third a club, and in a fourth a lotus
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