India > Festivals > Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesh

Ganesh is the God of knowledge and the remover of obstacles. He is the older son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Umadevi or Parbati. Ganpati, which means "The Lord of Hosts" (Gan - army and Ish - god). He has four hands, elephant's head and a big belly. His vehicle is a tiny mouse.

In his upper right hand, Ganesha holds a goad, which removes obstacles. The rope in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. Lord Ganesha holds a pen in his lower right hand which is a symbol of sacrifice. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. His big ears express that he is all ears to our petition. A snake (named Vasuki) that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms.

Celebration Ganesh Chaturthi: Traditionally, Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival of the month August or September and the festival will be continued for 10 days. The festival Ganesh Chaturthi somewhere said as Vinayak Chaturthi, this festival is celebrated especially in Maharastra.

On 2016: 5th September, 2016 (Monday)
On 2017: 25th August, 2017 (Friday)
On 2018: 13th September, 2018 (Thursday)

Mythology of the Lord Ganesh

Many years ago during a war between the Gods and the Demons, Lord Shiva was go away for a long time. His wife, Goddess Parvati, afraid of being alone for an extended period used her divine powers and created a son, Ganesh, and gave him the responsibility of protecting the house.

When Lord Shiva and his army, returned to his home, Parvati was in her bath, and Ganesh had been strictly instructed not to allow anyone in to home. Angered by Ganesh's refusal Lord Shiva and his army cut off the Ganesh's head. When Parvati came out of her bath, she was shocked and grieved to see her son dead.

Lord Shiva, to pacify, her proclaimed that the head of Ganesh would be replaced by that of the first creature that came up the hill. As luck would have it the first visitor to the hill was an elephant and his head was promptly cut off and placed on that of Lord Ganesh, and life was restored to the son of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.

Bring Him Home

The festival Ganesh Chaturthi is also called Vinayaka Chaturthi. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). This is the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Ganesh Chaturthi became a major festival of Maharashtra.

Devotees of lord Ganesh prefer to bring Him home one day previous to the day of Chaturthi. The people provide entry lord Ganesh with Aggarbatti, Dhoo, Aarti Thali, One Supari, One Paan Leaf and a Cloth to cover Murti which keep on Sandli before placing Murti. Before entering Home with the Murti, ask a family member to bring a bowl of rice. Shower the rice (Kacha rice) on Him before Him steps inside the home with the slogan - Ganpati Bappa Moriya.

Rituals of worship

Clay models of Lord Ganesha are prepared for sale, by especially skilled artisans. Devotees of lord Ganesh goes to them and purchase the idol and bring it to the place of worship covering his faces with a saffron cloth.

In the evening of the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, Sthapana (installation) of the idol takes place which is said to be filled with life. After the installation, traditional Puja takes place at the chosen time.

It is a festival of ten days. There have a custom time of worship to Lord Ganesh throughout the ten days. During the Puja, a sweet called Modak is offered to the god, recitations of the devotional songs, along with the flowers and lamps.

The last day of festival the idol of Ganesha is carried to a water source, accompanied by the chanting "Ganapati Bappa Morya". Finally, the idol is immersed in the water.

Worship to Ganesh

First day of Ganesh Chaturthi, The priest starts the worship by chanting mantras, which is called the Pranapratishtha (filled with life into idol). After this, the Shodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jiggery, 21 Modakas (rice flour preparation), 21 Durva (trefoil) blades and red hibiscus flowers are offered. The idol is anointed with red unguent (Rakta Chandan) throughout the ceremony. The worship lasted for ten days.

The festival comes to an end on the day of Anant Chaudas. On this day, the idols of Ganesha are taken from various, localities and puja rooms for a truly royal ride or musical procession. Devotees shouts of Ganpati Bappa Moriya Pudhchya Varshi Lavkarya (Ganpati My Lord, return soon next year).

After this, the idol is brought at a beach or a river. Then, they are immersed the idol. This immersion is called Visarjan. In other towns and villages, folks carry the idols to the Local River or tank for the immersion ceremony.

Celebration Ganesh Chaturthi

It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. Ganesh Chaturthi became a major festival of Maharashtra. Huge processions immerse thousands of idols of Lord Ganesha in the Arabian Sea. Worshipers are heard shouting, Ganpati Bapa Morya. The festival has now gained popularity all over India. Celebrations in south India and Gujarat are as spectacular as those of Maharashtra.

People bring home idol of Lord Ganesha and celebrate the festival by worshiping the Lord in a special way for a day and a half, 5 days, 7 days or 11 days depending on the family tradition and commitment of each individual.