Vinayaka Chaturthi & Rishi Panchami

Tomorrow (19 Sep) is Vinayaka Chaturthi.
And the day after (20 Sep) is Rishi Panchami

Vinayaka Chaturthi (aka Ganesh Chaturthi)
is celebrated every Shukla Chaturthi Tithi
of the Chandramana month of Bhadrapada.

This is the day of Vigneshwara (the challenge chief !).
The day of special honor for Ganapathi
in addition to our daily prayers for the
successful completion of our every day tasks.[+]

There is a story in Skanda Purana on why one
should not see the moon on Shukla Chaturthi.
The story in brief:

Ganesha was riding on his mouse on a
Vinayaka Chaturthi night after a hearty meal.

Ganesha fell off the mouse. The moon
found the whole scene funny and laughed aloud.

This angered Ganesha. Ganesha cursed the
moon saying no one would ever look at it.
This curse was later relaxed so that no one
would look at it only on Shukla Chaturthi Thithi.

Now, if one does not look at the moon on
Shukla Chaturthi night, one does not at least
antagonize Ganesha !

And Ganesha being the chief of challenges,
would give us the strength
to face existing challenges.

Rishi Panchami Vrata

The day after Vinayaka Chaturthi
is Rishi Panchami Vrata.

Rishi Panchami is observed on Shukla Panchami
Tithi of the month of Bhadrapada.

Rishi Panchami Vrata revolves around a puja done
to the Sapta Rishis (seven rishis).
This vrata is observed by women.

Rishi Panchami Vrata is rarely
observed in the Tamil tradition.
I hear it being observed by many in the
Kannada, Telugu & Marathi traditions.

There is a story to emphasize the need
to do this Vrata : [#]

Once upon a time in Vidarbha, there lived
a couple. They had a daughter.

The daughter got married. However, soon
after, her husband died. So, the daughter
was living with her parents.

Over time she was suffering from a disease
where worms were festering in her body.
They could not find a cure.

Once a sadhu visited their house.
On seeing the daughter's plight, he said
to the daughter :
"In your previous birth, during your
menstrual periods, you did not observe the
rules of isolation" [*].

"Hence your suffering. To be cured of this
disease, observe the Rishi Panchami Vrata".

So she observed the Vrata to be cured of her disease.

[+] Tried to trace the literature for
     "Why on Chaturthi". I have seen secondary
     texts saying he was created by Parvathi on that day.
     But could not find references to the Puranas.

[#] As told in Vrata Chudamani

[*] "Touched the vessel" is the literal translation.
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