Ganeshotsav commences on August 31. There’s a festive spirit in the air as people gear up to welcome the Bappa. Preparations are in full swing for the festival. Which means 11-days of fun and gorging on lip-smacking delicacies. We all know Lord Ganesha likes modak. But, ever wondered why 21 modaks are offered as prasad or bhog to Bappa?
The puranas refer to mythological tales regarding Lord Ganesha’s fondness for modaks. Ganesha’s maternal grandmother, Menavati, would pamper her beloved grandson and feed him laddoos. As young Ganesha grew up, so did his love for laddoos. Goddess Parvati decided to prepare another dish that he would enjoy just as much because she realised that making a huge quantity of laddoos in a short amount of time might be hard. Lord Ganesha was presented with a dessert (modaks) made of rice flour, coconut, jaggery, and ghee, which he joyfully enjoyed.
The puranas talk about yet another tale regarding why Lord Ganesha is offered 21 modaks. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati along with a young Ganesha paid a visit to an old sage called Atri and his wife Anusuya. Lord Shiva asked for food as he was hungry. Anusuya then stated she could only serve Lord Shiva after Ganesha’s hunger had been satisfied. Ganesha was served a variety of dishes. Even after eating everything that was offered to him, Ganesha didn’t feel satiated. Anusuya then served a small piece of sweet after realising that Lord Shiva would have nothing left to eat. When Ganesha finished this, he let out a loud burp, signifying that he was finally satisfied. Ganesha’s burp was accompanied by Lord Shiva’s 21 burps. When Goddess Parvati saw that it was modak that filled Ganesha’s tummy, she conveyed her desire that Ganesha’s
followers present him with modaks. This tradition has
continued since then.