Ganesh Chaturthi – Indian festival
Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is an important Hindu festival celebrated with great reverence throughout India. The day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesha is a symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra (usually falls between August and September). This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Hindus. People bring idols of Lord Ganesha to their homes and worship them. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days depending on the location and tradition. On the last day of the festival, the idols are taken out in a colorful and musical procession and traditionally immersed in water.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is considered to be a “Vighan Harta” (one who removes obstacles) and a “Buddhaprakrika” (one who attains wisdom). This festival is very important for the students, they worship Lord Ganesha to brighten their minds.
The preparation of the festival begins a few months before the festival with the making of idols of Lord Ganesha. The houses are cleaned and decorated to bring Ganesha home. A location has been chosen to place the statue and a raised platform is decorated there. The pandals (public stages / platforms) have been erected and beautifully decorated by various societies. On Ganesh Chaturthi, people bathe in the morning, put on new clothes and worship Vinayaka Chaturthi.
Beautiful clay (or any other material which will dissolve in water and is eco-friendly) brings the idol of Ganesha into the house and its face is covered with saffron cloth. A ceremony called ‘Purna Kumbh Kalash Sthapana’ is performed in which a copper / brass kalash (a small vessel used for Hindu worship and ritual) is placed in front of the idol and ‘Gangajal’ (holy water). It is a common Hindu ritual performed before the start of any auspicious ceremony. The cloth is removed from the mouth of the idol and the ritual of performing the life of the idol is performed by the priest by chanting specific mantras. This is called ‘Pran Pratishtha’. The idol is decorated with beautiful fresh flowers and decorated with fragrant sandalwood.
After casting life into the idol, another ritual called ‘Shodashopachara’ is performed, using things like coconut, 21 ‘modak’ (sweet dumplings made from rice flour, coconut, jaggery), pole grass. 16 different modes are included. , Betel nut, incense sticks etc.
21 Modak is used because according to mythological anecdotes, 21 Modak were taken to satisfy Ganesh’s hunger. To perform this ritual, Vedic hymns and Ganesh ot Stotra are recited. The 108 names of Ganesha are recited along with Ganesh Chaturthi ‘Katha’ (story) is read. During the conclusion of the ritual, the Aarti is performed with an earthen lamp in which a cotton wick is lit, dipped in clarified butter.
In the pandals of the society, the idol is usually seated for all 10 days and aarti is performed twice a day – morning and evening. People come to offer flowers, coconut, modak and seek the blessings of the Lords. The entire atmosphere is very festive, with people dressed in their best clothes and devotional songs sung throughout the day and late at night. In the houses, Ganesha idols are kept for either one and a half days, 3, 5 or 7 days. Aarti is also done twice a day in homes and friends and relatives visit those houses to seek blessings. They can take their own ‘Prasad’, which is kept in a common container, which is distributed among visitors. Ganesha is immersed with a loud cry of Ganapati Bappa Morya.