Ganesh Chaturthi: Celebrating Rebirth & Renewal

The festival of Ganesh Chathurthi is one in which everyone takes a big chunky part in. The cities are adorned with the bright colors of red, yellow and green, alongside the celebration, music and sounds commemorate the rebirth of God Ganesha. 

Belief behind Ganesh Chathurthi

The ten-day festive type of Ganesh Chathurthi stands firm on the belief that Lord Ganesha bestows his godly presence on earth in front of all his devotees during the pompous time of the same. Lord Ganesha is the God of wisdom, fortune, fame and property. He is historically evoked, at the start of a voyage or any new a venture. Also known by the name of Vinayaka Chathurthi, this festival ends on Anand Chaturdashi, that is the fourteenth day of the wax moon period. Bhadrapada Shukla Chathurthi fixes the date in accordance with the Hindu calendar of Bhadrapada when the festival begins. The preparation starts months prior to the festival, by devotees selecting or designing the environment friendly idols, décor and lights for the festival.

The historical importance of the festival dates back to 15th century during Shivaji’s time. As Ganesha was the family idol of the Peshawas (of which, Shivaji was), made the festivities the biggest celebration of the kingdom of Marathas. After the decline of the empire, decades later, Lokmanya Tilak resurrected the life of Ganesh Chathurthi in the latter half of 1800s. The festival was revived to bridge all the gaps between the upper castes and lower castes of Hindus like the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins, respectively. Lokmanya Tilak was the first ever person to dare to install the idol of Lord Ganesha in pavilions and establish the Ganesha Viserjana on the tenth day of celebrations.

Traditions and Rituals to do during Ganesh Chathurthi

The traditions and rituals to be carried out during the festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi are a wide plethora as it ranges for ten days. The festival is celebrated in its grandeur all over India, but in a better glitz and glamour in states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharasthra, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and also in internationally in Canada, Burma, Thailand, Fiji, Cambodia, Tobago, Singapore, Guyana and Malaysia.

At the onset of the festival, there is a wide market of the clay models of varied decorations on the Ganesha Idol that is jewelled and wrapped around in expensive silk and other clothing. The models are posed in a variety of ways and the height of which can range from three fourth of an inch to 80 feet as well! The tallest idol is 117 feet and is kept in the city of Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The festival begins with the installation of the statues in mandapas in every devotees home. The pandals are decorated with flowers, garlands and extensive number of lights. They are even themed according to the various legends that tell the tale of Ganesha in the Hindu scriptures.

During Pranaprathishta, the priest who wears the two-piece of dhoti and uttariyam chants them mantras and performs the sacred rituals to invoke Ganesha and to demand his presence. After this, the ways of paying tribute to the lord starts which is in 16 varied ways as the following enlists.
  • Coconut
  • Jaggery
  • Modakas
  • Durva
  • Red Flowers
  • Anointing the statue with
o   Kumkum
o   Sandalwood paste
  • Hymning Rhymes of
o   Rigveda
o   Ganapati Atharva shirsha Upanishad
o   Ganesha Stotra
o   Narada Purana
  • The ways to install the idol, immersion of the idol and other rituals are all, done with utmost sanctity and care in accordance with the scriptures.

Dishes during Ganesh Chathurthi

The prominent sweet dish that is prepared during the festival is modak. This dumpling is prepared from rice flour or wheat flour stuffing it with coconut scrapings, grated jiggery, nuts and other condiments are added to it. It is cooked by steaming or frying. In Karnataka another prominent dish during the festival is, ‘karanji’ which has the same taste and constitution as modak, but is semi circular taste. In telugu, these offerings to Lord are titled Naivedyam. The traditional plate that contains the festival dish modak also contains twenty varieties of other sweet.

Advance Ganesh Chathurthi to all the devotees and disciples to celebrate this year’s blessed occasion with tenfold vigour and pomp!