Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival in Maharashtra. Lord Ganesha is known as the remover of all the obstacles and sufferings. He is the supreme God of wisdom, good fortune and prosperity. According to the traditional Hindu Calendar, Lord Ganesha’s Birth Anniversary falls in the Hindu month of Bhadra i.e. the months of August/September in English Calendar.
Ganesh Chaturthi | How To Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi In India
Lord Ganesha’s Birth Anniversary is celebrated every year as Ganesh Chaturthi. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. It is celebrated with great pomp across the country but the state of Maharashtra brings the enthusiasm to a whole different level.
Ganpati Bappa Moraya!
To put it plainly, Ganesh Chaturthi is a fun-filled festival in honor of Lord Ganesha. Individuals all over India altogether enjoy it. All the devotees of Lord Ganesha come together and celebrate it irrespective of their caste and colour. Ganesh Chaturthi sparks joy all over the country and unites people with celebrations.
History Of Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated from the times of King Shivaji.It was during India’s freedom struggle that Lokmanya Tilak changed Ganesh Chaturthi from a private celebration to a grand public festival of unity against the Britishers for Independence.
With growing environmental awareness over the years, people have started celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in an environmentally friendly way. This includes– getting Ganesha idols made of natural clay/ mitti and using only flowers and natural items for decorating the pandals.
Legend Of Ganesh Chaturthi
According to Hindu Mythology, Goddess Parvati, mother of Lord Ganesha made him to stand out of Sandalwood to guard while she was taking a bath. At that point, Lord Ganesha stops Lord Shiva (father of Lord Ganesha) from entering the place. Till this moment, neither Lord Ganesha nor Lord Shiva was aware of their relationship. Angry Lord Shiva beheaded Lord Ganesha.
When Goddess Parvati came to know about the incident, she asked for two promises from Lord Shiva. The first one was to bring his son back to life. Lord Shiva’s followers could only find the head of an elephant in the north direction though they searched for a child’s head.
Thus, Lord Ganesha came back to life with an elephant’s head. The second promise was that Lord Ganesha should be worshipped before all the Gods. From then onward, Lord Ganesha is known as the God of Beginnings.
Another legend around Ganesha’s birth suggests that he was created by Shiva and Parvati on request of the Devas, to be a ‘Vighnakarta’ (obstacle-creator) in the path of ‘rakshasas’ (demons), and a ‘Vighnaharta’ (obstacle-averter) for devas and devotees. As per another legend, Lord Ganesh was born on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Magh.
Hence, the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on this Chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi. Lord Chandra, Moon God, was the first person who observed the Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat. After being declared as Ganapati, the leader of Shiva’s ‘Ganas,’ he was traveling through the heavens. Lord Moon was full of pride on his attractive looks.
When he saw Lord Ganesha, Chandra Dev laughed at his appearance. Hence, Ganeshji cursed him, whenever somebody will look at Moon, he will be cursed too.” Lord Moon pleaded for forgiveness. After following the Ganesh Chaturthi vrata, Lord Moon was freed from the curse. By performing Chaturthi vrata Chandra Dev got rid of his curse.
Significance Of Ganesh Chaturthi
Vinayaka Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Most of us are only aware of the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival but as per the Hindu calendar, the fourth day after the new moon and fourth day after a full moon are observed as Chaturthi. There are two Chaturthi Tithi in every month. It is believed that Lord Ganesha is in the fourth state and one who worships him on Chaturthi will able to reach that state.
The benefits of Chaturthi fasting include material progress, happiness, and prosperity. The importance of Chaturthi vrata was mentioned in the Narasimha Purana and Bhavishya Purana. It removes the obstacle and creates favorable situations for success.
It brings Knowledge, wealth, and fulfillment of desire. It also minimizes the malefic effect caused by planet Mercury. Worshiping Lord Ganesha on Chaturthi provides powerful benefits. Chanting mantra “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha” helps in fulfillment of all wishes.
How To Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated over a period of 11 days in many phases. People install stalls and decorate the idols of Lord Ganesha. They also wear new clothes for the whole period of celebration. The festival starts on Chaturthi when people welcome Lord Ganesha in their homes and temples.
The first phase is Pranapratishhtha which kick-starts with the making of the clay idols of Lord Ganesha. The next phase of the festival is Shodashopachara Puja, where people place their offerings in front of the Ganesha idol that includes Modak, coconut rice, Motichoor laddoo, and payasam.
In the morning of Sankashti Chaturthi, an early rise is advised. After this, the altar of Ganesh needs to be prepared, and prayers must be offered. People going ahead with their routine or official works can do so after that excepting the fasting aspect. If they remain home or take a day off, they can engage in scriptural study or listen to divine stories or chant the names of Lord Ganesh throughout the day.
In the evening, the fast is concluded after sighting the moon and offering puja to Lord Ganesh. The time of moonrise is mentioned in the calendar. Those who have difficulties in witnessing the moonrise may take note of this time and prepare for the conclusion of the vrata. However, seeing the moon physically towards the end of the vrat is said to be highly auspicious. After the time of moonrise, the observer will set up the altar, install a picture or idol of Lord Ganesh, offer a formal puja and break the fast.
Ganesh ji is worshipped for 10 days, and on the 11th day, Ganesh Visarjan takes place on Anant Chaturdashi. Lord Ganesha’s idol is immersed in rivers and oceans which signifies freedom from evil and sufferings. Visarjan is carried out in a full-fledged procession where people dance all their ways to rivers or oceans. Ganesh Visarjan is also performed on the third, fifth, and seventh days of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Lord Ganesha returns to his native Mount Kailasha according to an ancient story. When Ganesh Chaturthi ends, people pray for the return of Lord Ganesha next year and wait for this festival.