Ganesh Chaturthi: History, importance and rituals of this auspicious festival

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chavithi, is an auspicious Hindu festival celebrated for 1 and a half, 5, 7, 9,11 or 21 days each year. The event is held during the Hindu month of Bhadra, which typically falls between mid-August and September. It is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god.

Ganesha is recognised as the God of wealth, sciences, knowledge, wisdom, and prosperity, which is why most Hindus remember him and ask for his blessings before beginning any major work.

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Lord Ganesh is known by 108 distinct names, including Gajanana, Vinayaka, and Vighnaharta.

Hindus all around the world honour this event with great dedication and joy. It is primarily seen in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana in India.

History of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha is Lord Shiva and Parvati’s younger son. There are several stories about his birth, but two of them are the most common.

According to the first myth, Parvati formed Lord Ganesha out of dirt from her body to protect her in the absence of Shiva. She assigned him the responsibility of keeping an eye on her bathroom door while she took a bath. Meanwhile, Shiva arrived home, and Ganesha, who had no idea who Shiva was, stopped him. This enraged Shiva, and after a spat between the two, he severed Ganesha’s head. When Parvati heard about this, she became outraged; Lord Shiva, in response, swore to bring Ganesha back to life. The devas were ordered to find a child’s head pointing north, but all they found was an elephant’s head. Ganesha was born when Shiva attached the elephant’s head to the child’s body.

Another popular narrative is that the Devas asked Shiva and Parvati to create Ganesha so that he may be a Vighnaharta (averter of obstacles) for rakshasas (demons) and thereby serve the Devas.

Importance of Ganesh Chaturthi

Devotees who pray to Ganesha are said to be able to realise their wishes and desires. So, the fundamental point of Ganesh Chaturthi is that devotees who pray to him are cleansed of their sins and guided down the road of knowledge and wisdom.

The event has been celebrated since the reign of King Shivaji. During India’s independence movement, Lokmanya Tilak transformed Ganesh Chaturthi from a private celebration to a huge public festival where people of all castes can come together, worship, and be unified.

People have begun to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in an environmentally responsible manner as environmental consciousness has grown over the years. This involves purchasing natural clay or mitti Ganesha idols and using only flowers and natural items for decorating the pandals.

 

Rituals of Vinayaka Chavithi

Throughout the 21-day festival, four major rituals are conducted. Pranapratishtha, Shhodashopachara, Uttarpuja, and Ganpati Visarjan are the four. The anticipation for Ganesh Chaturthi begins weeks before the holiday. Artists begin to create clay idols of Ganesha in various stances and sizes.

Ganesha idols are housed in artistically designed ‘pandals’ in homes, temples, or communities. Flowers, garlands, and lights adorn the statue as well. A ritual known as Pranapratishhtha is performed in which a priest sings a mantra to bring life to the deity.

Then, in 16 distinct methods, prayers are presented to Ganesha’s statue. This is known as Shhodashopachara.

People celebrate by singing or playing religious music, dancing to drum beats, and igniting fireworks, which all contribute to the celebratory atmosphere.

The Uttarpuia ritual is subsequently done, which involves respectfully bidding farewell to Ganesha. Ganpati Visarjan, a ceremony in which the statue is immersed in water, follows. People often chant in Marathi while taking the statue to the water and immersing it.

‘Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya,’ which means ‘Goodbye Lord, please come back soon next year’

While some devotees celebrate this event at home, others go to public pandals to pay their respects to Lord Ganesha. People pay their respects, worship, and make sacrifices to Ganesha.

Dishes such as Lord Ganesha’s favourites Modak and Pooran Poli, and Karanji are prepared for friends, family and visitors.

 

We at Business Upturn wish you all a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!