Ganesh Chaturthi Quick Facts
|Ganesh Chaturthi (गणेश चतुर्थी)
|19 September 2023
|Festival Observed by
History of Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is a major festival of Hindus. This festival is celebrated in different parts of India but it is celebrated with great pomp in Maharashtra and Karnataka. According to the Puranas, Ganesha was born on this day. The Hindu god Ganesha is worshiped on Ganesh Chaturthi.
The history of Ganesh Chaturthi is linked to Hindu mythology and folk tales. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the fourth day of Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month, which falls between September or October. The festival is celebrated for ten days, with daily pujas and aartis, and the immersion of the Ganesha idol on the last day.
Story of Ganesh Chaturthi
In the fourth (Kumar) section of Rudrasanhita under Shivpuran, it is described that before taking bath, Mother Parvati created a child from her filth and made him her gatekeeper. When Lord Shiva wanted to enter, the child stopped him. On this Shivgana fought fiercely with the child but no one could defeat him in the battle. At last Lord Shankar got angry and cut off the head of that boy with his trident. Due to this Bhagwati Shiva got angry and she decided to do holocaust. The fearful deities pacified him by praising Jagdamba on the advice of Devarshinarad. On the instruction of Lord Shiva, Vishnuji cut off the head of the first creature (elephant) found in the north direction. Mrityunjay Rudra revived the boy by placing that head of Gaj on the body of the boy. Mata Parvati embraced that elephant-faced child with her heart and blessed her to be the leader among the gods. Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh declared that child as the head of all and gave him the boon of being worshipped. Lord Shankar said to the child - Girijanandan! Your name will be paramount in destroying obstacles. You become the president of all my ganas by becoming everyone's worship. Ganeshwar you are born on the rising of the moon on the Chaturthi of the dark fortnight of Bhadrapada month. On this date, all the obstacles of the person who fasts will be destroyed and he will get all the achievements. On the night of Krishna Paksha's Chaturthi, at the time of moonrise, after worshiping you, Ganesha should offer sweets to the Brahmin after offering Arghya to the fasting moon. After that, eat sweet food yourself. The wishes of the person who fasts on Shri Ganesh Chaturthi throughout the year are definitely fulfilled.
Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi festival is of significance to most Indians, where it is celebrated with great pomp and show. During this people meet, enjoy happiness with families and friends and worship Lord Ganesha. At the end of the festival, Ganesha idols are immersed in ponds and rivers at public places, indicating the return of Lord Ganesha. Thus, the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi is associated with religious, social and cultural beliefs. The festival provides an opportunity to worship Lord Ganesha, helps to overcome problems and instills a sense of unity and love in the society.
How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi
Preparations: Prior to the festival, people clean their homes and decorate them with flowers, colorful decorations, and lights. Clay idols of Lord Ganesha, both small and large, are also prepared or purchased.
Installation of Ganesh Idols: On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the clay idols of Lord Ganesha are installed in homes, temples, and public pandals (temporary structures). The idols are placed on raised platforms and beautifully decorated.
Prayers and Offerings: Devotees perform puja (worship) of Lord Ganesha. This involves chanting prayers, reciting mantras, and offering flowers, incense, coconut, sweets, and fruits to the deity. Devotees seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha and offer their prayers.
Cultural Programs and Devotional Music: During the festival, cultural programs, devotional music, and dance performances are organized. People gather to sing devotional songs, bhajans, and perform traditional dances in praise of Lord Ganesha.
Modak and Prasad Distribution: Modak, a sweet dumpling considered to be Lord Ganesha's favorite, is prepared and offered as prasad (blessed food) to the deity. The prasad is then distributed among family members, friends, and devotees. It is believed that partaking in the prasad brings good fortune and blessings.
Visarjan (Immersion): The festival concludes with the immersion or visarjan of the Ganesha idols. The idols are carried in processions accompanied by music and dancing, and then immersed in rivers, lakes, or the sea. This signifies the return of Lord Ganesha to his divine abode, and devotees bid farewell with prayers and chanting.
Tradition and customs of Ganesh Chaturthi
The tradition of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi is deeply rooted in the culture of India. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with immense devotion and enthusiasm across the country. The festivities begin with the installation of beautifully crafted clay idols of Lord Ganesha in homes, temples, and pandals (temporary structures). These idols are meticulously adorned with vibrant colors, flowers, and ornaments. Devotees offer prayers, chant sacred mantras, and perform elaborate rituals to invoke the presence and blessings of Lord Ganesha.
Throughout the celebration, bhajans (devotional songs) and aartis (prayer ceremonies) are conducted, filling the air with melodious chants and the fragrance of incense. Devotees come together to seek the divine grace of Lord Ganesha and offer their heartfelt prayers. A significant aspect of Ganesh Chaturthi is the preparation and distribution of modak, Lord Ganesha's favorite sweet. These dumplings, made with rice flour or wheat flour, are filled with jaggery, coconut, and other delicious ingredients. It is believed that offering modak as prasad (blessed food) to Lord Ganesha pleases him and brings prosperity and good fortune.
The culmination of Ganesh Chaturthi is marked by the visarjan, the immersion of the Ganesha idols in rivers, lakes, or the sea. The idols are taken in grand processions accompanied by music, dance, and enthusiastic devotees. It is a spectacle filled with joy and fervor as people bid farewell to Lord Ganesha, expressing gratitude for his presence and seeking his blessings for the next year. Ganesh Chaturthi is not merely a religious festival but also a cultural celebration that promotes unity, harmony, and community bonding. People from all walks of life come together to participate in the festivities, regardless of their caste, creed, or social status. The festival creates a sense of togetherness, instills moral values, and reinforces the significance of overcoming obstacles with faith and determination.
More info about Ganesh Chaturthi
Nowadays, conservation of the environment is kept in mind in the idols used during Ganesh Chaturthi. In place of the traditional plastic, idols made of Shavakdar or Shadbha Mati are now used. This can reduce the problem of harming the environment. Community spirit is given importance in the event. People come together in groups to conduct various events through modern commercialization, which include social service, art, culture, and environmental protection. This strengthens the sense of community and organization. Traditionally the idols were usually immersed in a river or sea after Ganesh Chaturthi. However, now the practice of tambu (white) immersion is practiced in most places. Tambu idols are immersed in the river or community tank, thereby reducing the problem of pollution in the river water.
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