Ganesha Chaturthi- Significance, Celebrations, and Rituals
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most massive and spectacular festivals which is celebrated across India with much grandeur and magnificence. The occasion commemorates the birth of the Lord Ganesha, God Of Knowledge and Prosperity. He is also considered as the Lord Of New Beginning as no auspicious work is commenced without the blessings of Ganpati.
When is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is primarily observed on the fourth day after the new moon in the month of Bhadrapada (August or September). The festivity continues for a period of 10 days and on the 11th day of the occasion i.e. on Ananta Chaturdashi, the celebration concludes with Ganesh Visarjan.
Why Do We Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?
Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival which is celebrated to honor the birthday of Ganesha. There are widely two famous versions regarding the birth of Lord Ganesha.
The creation of Lord Ganesha took place as Goddess Parvati build up a human figure out of the dirt of her body while taking a bath and put him to guard the door till the time she finishes her bath. Goddess Parvati ordered Lord Ganesha to restrict the entry of anyone.
Unaware of all this, Lord Shiva when came to visit the Goddess in her palace, he was stopped by Ganesha who was following the orders of his mother. Lord Shiva got furious and though in the fight between the two, Lord Shiva beheaded Lord Ganesha. When Goddess Parvati saw this incident, she transformed herself as Goddess Kali and started destroying the universe with her anger. Such things made all the deities worried and they requested Lord Shiva to calm down Goddess Parvati.
As a solution to this, Lord Shiva ordered all his followers to find the head of any child but make sure that the child’s mother has her back towards the child. The very first child which was seen by the followers was of an elephant and so as per the orders of the deity, they cut the head of the baby elephant and brought the same to Lord Shiva.
The head was immediately placed on the body of Lord Ganesha and he regained his life back. The rage of Goddess Parvati finally subsided. All the Gods and Goddesses blessed Lord Ganesha and since that day, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated across the world.
The second legend is:
Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva on the request of all the deities, to have a Vighnaharta or an obstacle averter for helping them against the demons.
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How many days Ganesh Chaturthi lasts?
The festival of Vinayak Chaturthi and the celebrations can last till 1.5, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days according to the family customs, traditions, and rituals.
What is the importance of Ganesha Chaturthi?
The significance of Ganesha Chaturthi festival lies in worshipping Lord Ganesha as he symbolizes wisdom, spiritual knowledge, intellectual prowess, wealth and power, happiness, prosperity, and success. People worship Lord Ganesha with supreme devotion to seek his blessings and usher in good fortune, prosperity, success in all their endeavors and enhance their wisdom and spiritual knowledge.
In Hinduism, it is perhaps the only festival that allows the devotees to worship the physical as well as the spiritual form of the Almighty. Ganpati is the God Of good beginnings. It is believed that he takes away all the difficulties and obstacles of the family and the home with him at the time of Visarjan. Ganesha Chaturthi is perhaps one of the few festivals that is eagerly awaited by all the sections of society.
What Are The Rituals Of Ganesh Sthapna?
Ganesha Chaturthi is the festival to honor and worship Lord Ganesha. It is regarded as one of the most significant and auspicious occasions in Hindu mythology and is celebrated by several communities across India. However, the most elaborate festivities and incredible enthusiasm for this festival are witnessed in Maharashtra.
- Ganesha Sthapna is the most significant and spiritual aspect of the festival which is performed by the devotees with much vigor and devotion. On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, ‘Pran Pratishtha' of Ganpati’s idol is done either in our homes and offices.
- As per the Hindu belief, Lord Ganesha was born during Madhyanga Kaal which represents the midday. Devotees perform the Shodashopachara Ganapati pooja, a 16 step Puja while performing the ritual of Ganesh Sthapna.
- The sacred place where the idol of Lord Ganesh is placed holds much significance and must be chosen in a way that it can be viewed by most of the individuals during the festival.
- BeforeGanesh Sthapna, the devotees are required to properly clean the place, lay a sacred red colored cloth and spread rice particles on the cloth. Thereafter, the idol of Lord Ganesha can be placed there.
- The place is then decorated with flowers, garlands and other decorative articles. The size of the idols varies from inches to feet depending upon the wish of the devotees.
What Are The Rituals Performed On Ganesh Chaturthi?
- Firstly, on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi, the idol of Lord Ganesh is placed in mandaps, temples, homes or offices.
- Once the Sthapna is performed, then the idol is decorated and adorned beautifully
- The mandapa and the temples are also adorned with twinkling lights, beautiful flowers and decorative articles. People at various places also decorate the places according to the themes to offer a unique look to the place of the mandaps.
- To invoke life into the idol of Lord Ganesha, the priest chants sacred mantras. This ritual is known as 'Prana Pratishtha'. The same is followed by the ritual of ‘Shhodashopachara’ that comprises of puja which includes sixteen diverse ways of worshipping Lord Ganesh.
- Special eatables are prepared to offer to Lord Ganesha such as rice flour preparation, modaks, jaggery and other particular sweets. Other than this, 21 durva (trefoil) and red-colored flowers are also offered to the deity. Along with these offerings, the idol of Lord Ganesha is also bedecked with red sandalwood paste.
- Lord Ganesh puja comprises of singing folk songs, chanting mantras from the Rig Veda, religious scripture and performing Ganpati Aarti. All these rituals continue for the period of 11 days.
- After the completion of the 11 days, devotees bid adieu to their beloved Ganpati through Ganesh Visarjan. A grand and beautiful procession is held in which the devotees take the idols and ride through the street with immense celebration, joy, dancing, and singing. Throughout the rides, devotees fill the streets with chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya, ‘Pudhchya Varshi Laukariya’. This means that deity you should come back early next year.
- On the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi, people also wake up early morning, take a holy bath and then visit the temple to worship Lord Ganesha and offer them prayers. Make your janam kundli here and make life successful by taking blessings of Lord Ganesha
How is Ganesha Visarjan Observed?
The special occasion of Ganesha Visarjan is celebrated with extreme fun, passion, and happiness.
- Ganesh Visarjan is one exceedingly grand procession specifically in Mumbai. This festivity is attended by almost thousands of Ganesha devotees which include politicians, celebrities, and other eminent figures. It is a highly emotional day for everyone as they pay farewell to their beloved god with a promise and hope that he will visit them next year. This festival is celebrated as a public event organized by Ganpati Mandals.
- There is loud music all around the streets with devotees dancing with devotion and zeal to the religious and folk songs. It is a huge procession which initiates from the temple to the seafront and the devotees keep chanting and dancing all the way around.
- The environment turns lively and vigorous with the dances of devotees, drum beats, loud music and religious songs. There are fireworks, lasers, lights and much more to enhance the festive spirit.
Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations Abroad
- The Indian residents who reside in foreign countries also celebrate the festival with much enthusiasm and zeal. There is an organization named Swayamsevak Sangh which plans, manages and celebrates the various festivals and events in the United States.
- In the United Kingdom, the celebration is performed by the Hindu Culture and Heritage society. The society members perform puja and other rituals at a Ganesha temple.
- In Canada, various Marathi associations organize the event.
Why Should We Avoid Moon Sighting On Ganesha Chaturthi?
In Hindu religion, there is a belief that the people should not view the moon during Ganesha Chaturthi. As the one who sees the Moon on this day gets a Mithya Kalank or the Mithya Dosham. It means that the person can be falsely accused of stealing something.
According to the Puranas, God Krishna was wrongly accused and blamed for stealing one precious jewel called Syamantaka. After observing all the situation, Devrishi Narad informed Krishna that this is happening because of the reason that he is cursed of Mithya Dosham due to the sighting of the Moon on the day of Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi.
Further, Sage Narada narrated that, Chandra Dev (Lord Moon) was cursed by Ganpati that any being who will see the moon on this specific day of Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi will be cursed with a dosha called Mithya Dosham and would have a negative reputation in the society. Thus, on the advice of Devrishi Narad, Lord Krishna then observed a Ganesha Chaturthi fast to get free from the Mithya Dosh.
What is the prevention Mantra for Mithya Dosha?
If someone has by mistake seen the moon on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi then there is also a remedy to get rid of Mithya Dosh. One can recite this following Mantra :
Simhah Prasenamavadhitsimho Jambavata Hatah
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantaka