Guide to Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

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In 2021, the Ganpati festival sthapna will be performed on Friday, 10 September 2021 and visarjan will be done on Sunday, 19 September 2021.

In India, all festivals are prepared with great fanfare and devotion. Behind each Indian festival, there is a story or mythological belief, which becomes the main reason for celebrating that festival. In Hindu culture, there are several festivals, each having its own significance in our life. One such festival, which is very popular among people from all walks of life, and is celebrated across the country, is Ganesh Chaturthi.
Given below is a complete guide to the festivals, which gives each and every detail regarding the festival.

What is Ganesh Chaturthi?

Ganesh Chaturthi is a very popular Hindu festival, which celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha. In addition, celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi every year signifies the visit of Lord Ganesha to Earth. It is believed that Lord Ganesh lives with his parents – Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in Kailash Parbat. And during Ganesh Chaturthi, he comes to Earth along with his mother, and stays here for 10 days, and then returns back to his abode.

The devotees bring an idol of Lord Ganesha to their homes, worship him and pray him to remove their obstacles. After 10 days, the deity is given a farewell. People believe that while leaving their homes, the idol takes away all the negativities of their home. The idol is them taken for immersion. Here again, the belief is that with the immersion of the idol is immersed, all their sorrows have been immersed, and Lord Ganesha will bless the people with intelligence, health, prosperity, and good luck.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

The 10-day festival, Ganesh Chaturthi falls in the Bhadrapad month as per the Hindu calendar. As per the Gregorian calendar, it falls in the months of August or September. This festival starts from the ‘chauth’ (4th day) of Bhadrapad month with the sthapna of the idol and goes till the ‘chaturdashi’ (14th day) when the visarjan is performed. This called Anant Chaturdashi.

This year, the Ganpati sthapna will be performed on Friday, 10 September 2021 and visarjan will be done on Sunday, 19 September 2021.

History of Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi:

The earliest available records indicate that Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated during the time of Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire.  After his death, the Peshwa rulers continued their worship of Lord Ganesha and made Ganesh Chaturthi a public festival. However, the festival lost its value during British rule, as the festival did not enjoy state patronage.

But in 1892, a social reformer, Bhausaheb Laxman Javale decided to revive the festival and celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi as a public event. This idea was liked a lot by the great freedom fighter of India, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He saw this festival as an opportunity to unite the people of India and make them fight against British rule. He openly praised it in his newspaper called Kesari.

Lokmanya Tilak realized that Hindus were divided into various castes and classes, and not well organized. So, he started a public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi to bridge the gap between various castes among the Hindus. He started celebrating the festival on elaborate pandals. Various activities and competitions were held to unite the people.

Where is it celebrated?

Lord Ganesha is one of the gods, who is loved one and all. He has a universal appeal. That is why people from all walks of life, region, sect, and religion worship him. Though celebrated all over India, the festival is more popular in states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Odisha. Within these states also, there are certain cities, like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hubbli, among others which are famous for their huge Ganesha idols and splendid pandals.

How is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

These days Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated both as a private event and a public event. Though the method of worship remains the same, there are some differences.

Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi at Homes:

Across Maharashtra, many families bring small idols of Lord Ganesha into their homes. They decorate their temples and install the idol there. They invite their friends and relatives to visit their homes. They worship the idol and offer flowers and sweets like modaks. At the end of worship, people sing aarti in favour of Lord Ganesha. This ritual is performed for a duration that ranges for anything between 1+12, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days, after which the visarjan is done.

Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi Publicly:

There are many local groups, resident welfare associations and trade associations that celebrate the festival publicly. They bring bigger Ganesh idols and install them in pandals. The first day, pran prathistha is done, followed by daily worship twice a day. In addition to the daily worship, various cultural and literary activities like quiz, singing, dancing is performed. Some pandals organize blood donation camps and other health check-up camps for the common people.
On the 14th day of Bhadrapada month, the people carry the idol in a public procession with music and group chanting. The idol is then immersed in a river or sea, with a request to come again soon the next year.

Foods Prepared:

The primary sweet dish made during the festival is called Modak. It is believed to be the favourite sweet of Lord Ganesha. In addition to modak, other sweets prepared are motichoor laddoos, Shrikhand, Pooran Poli, Peda, Puffed Rice, Payasam, Medu Vada, Barfi, Thalipeeth, Karanji, Aluwadi, Rishi Bhaji, among others.

10 Things You Should Know About Ganesh Chaturthi:

  1. Almost every Marathi family brings the Ganesha idol and treats him as a member of their family.
  2. Lovingly called, “Bappa”, he is given a prominent place position in their temple. He is often seated on a raised platform, sometimes even a throne.
  3. The temple is decorated and the idol is dressed in new clothes. 
  4. Bappa is given pure water and offered honey and milk.
  5. People invite their friends, relatives, and families to visit their home and get a darshan of Ganpati Bappa.
  6. Till the time the idol is at home, regular puja is done, twice a day.
  7. People may choose to keep the idol in their home for 1+1/2 days, 3,5,7, or 10 days, after which visarjan is performed.
  8. On the last day, the idol is given a grand farewell in the form of Uttar Pooja. The idol is then taken in a procession with dance and music to a water body, where it is immersed. 
  9. On Anant Chaturdashi, the celebration reaches a peak, and the entire city to Mumbai comes to a halt, with all roads blocked. Offices are closed early that day to avoid getting caught in the jam.
  10. The most popular spots for immersion in Mumbai are Powai Lake, Girgaon Chaupati, and Juhu Beach.

Like most festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi is also evolving and often reflects the current things happening in the
society. The Ganesh idols are seen in different avatars, often trying to communicate some socially important message. The pandals are becoming bigger and tech-savvy, but the core tradition is unchanged.

Related Post:

Ganesh Chaturthi History & Significance
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How to Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi Festival At Home
Food To Eat during Ganesh Chaturthi
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Shri Ganesh Shendur Laal Chadhayo (आरती: श्री गणेश – शेंदुर लाल चढ़ायो)
श्री गणेश आरती (Shri Ganesh Aarti)

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