Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival that is celebrated all over the World to commemorate the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is celebrated on the fourth day of waxing phase of the moon the month of Bhadra of the Hindu calendar, which starts on the Shukla Chaturthi. This festival is also known by the names of 'Vinayak Chaturthi' and 'Vinayaka Chavithi'.
Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There is a mythological account related to the birth of this Hindu deity. It is said that Goddess Parvati made Ganesha out of the sandalwood that she used for bathing and then put life into it and made him stand as a guard at the door while bathing. When Lord Shiva returned, Ganesha did not let him enter as he did not know about Lord Shiva and owing to this Shiva got angry and asked his followers to teach him manners.
He being born out of the power of Parvati, he defeated everyone who came to attack him. Finally, the the controller, preserver and destroyer of the universe, i.e. the Trinity attacked the child and Shiva beheaded the child and seeing her son dead, he came into her real self of Adi-Shakti and vowed to destroy the universe and those who killed her son.
Hearing this, Shiva promised to bring her son to life again and Lord Shiva sent someone to find a replacement, telling them to bring back the head of the first creature they came across that was lying down and facing north. The first creature Shiva's envoy came across who was asleep with his head facing northwards was the king of the elephants. So, he lopped of the head and carried it back to Shiva, who quickly attached it to the body of the boy and breathed life into it.
Lord Ganesh is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. On one of His birthdays, He was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings. Having eaten a good number of these, He set out moving on His mouse at night. Suddenly the mouse stumbled, it had seen a snake and became frightened, with the result that Ganesha fell down. His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganesha stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly.
Seeing all this, the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh. This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed Him immensely and so he pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill-repute.
However, if by mistake someone does happen to look at the moon on this day, then the only way he can be freed from the curse is by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel.
Briefly, Satrajit, who secured a jewel syamantaka from Surya, did not part with it even when Krishna the Lord of Dwaraka, asked for it saying it would be safe with him. Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by a lion. Jambavan of the Ramayana fame killed the lion and gave it to his son to play with. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the jewel.
Krishna, in order to remove the stain on his reputation, set out in search of the jewel and found it in Jambavan's cave, with his child. Jambavan attacked Krishna thinking him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days, when Jambavan, his whole body terribly weakened from the hammering of Krishna's fists, finally recognized Him as Lord Rama.
As a repentance for his having fought Krishna, Jambavan gave Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna returned to Dvaraka with Jambavati and the jewel, and returned it to Satrajit, who in turn repented for his false accusation. He promptly offered to give Krishna the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as his wife but did not accept the jewel.
The story of allegation of stealing on Lord Krishna goes back to the story on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi that once Lord Krishna after grazing the cows, was on his way back home. Puddles were formed on the wet path due to the animals walking. Than accidently Lord Krishna saw the moon through that puddles. So due to this reason he got allegation of stealing the Shamantak Mani.
Kubera, the god of wealth once visited Shiva and Parvati in Mount Kailash. He wanted to show off his wealth, so he invited them to a meal. Shiva and Parvati said, "We cannot come, but you may take Ganesha. But he eats a lot." Kubera said "He can eats as much as he wants." When the child sat down to eat, he ate all the food. But he remained hungry, so he ate the utensils, the furniture, and the palace. Still he went on eating and ate Kubera's entire kingdom.
Kubera begged him to stop but he threatened. "If you don't give me food, I will eat you." Kubera went to Shiva for help. He apologised for his pride. Shiva gave him a hand full of rice to give to Ganesha. Kubera went back and offered the rice to Ganesha with love and humility. Ganesha's hunger was satisfied.
Ganesha and His brother Kartikeya once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.
Lord Shiva said, "Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?"
Ganesha replied, "No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!"
Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.