India is a land of festivals. Its rich cultural heritage offers rich and varied festivals celebrated with great joy, devotion, and enthusiasm.
Festivals are an essential part of the life of every Indian. They confer a unique dimension to India, which goes on to make it truly ‘incredible.’
Ganesh Chaturthi is one such Festival that holds a special place in the rich panorama of Indian Festivals.
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Ganesh Chaturthi Date 2024
Ganesh Chaturthi is on 7th September 2024, Saturday.
The Madhyahna Ganesh Puja Time is from 11:03 AM to 01:34 PM. This is because, as per Vedic Astrology, it is considered the most appropriate time for Ganesh Pujan.
Followers believe that Lord Ganesh was born during Madhyahna Kala, so Ganesh Puja is preferred during Madhyahna. The Festival ends on Friday of Anant Chaturdashi Day, on 17th September 2024, Tuesday.
This period starts with Ganesh Chaturthi and ends on Ananta Chaturdashi, celebrated as ‘Ganeshotsav.’
About Bhagwan Ganesh
Bhagwan Ganesh is one of the most popular Hindu Gods and is worshipped before every auspicious event for blessings. He is considered the God of Success and; destroys evils and obstacles in the way of his devotees (Vighnaharta).
He is also worshipped as the God of Education, Knowledge, Wisdom, Good Fortune, and Wealth. Devotees call him by names such as Vinayaka (knowledgeable) or Vighneshwar (Remover of Obstacles). He has four hands, an elephant’s head, and a big belly. His vehicle is a tiny mouse (Mushaka).
In his hands, Lord Ganesh carries a rope (to guide devotees on the path of truth), an ax (to destroy devotees’ obstacles and cut their attachments), and a sweet dessert ball of laddoos (modakas). He extends his fourth arm to bless people with success. His whole persona signifies tremendous intelligence, wisdom, and presence of mind.
About Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of India’s foremost festivals, celebrated with great pomp and show throughout India (especially in Maharashtra) and various parts of the world.
The Festival is celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesh. It is observed in the month of Bhadrapada (according to the Hindu calendar) on the day of Shukla Chaturthi (the fourth day of the waxing moon period) and lasts ten days. It culminates on Anant Chaturdashi (the period’s fourteenth day of the waxing moon). It usually falls between mid-August and mid-September.
Ganesh Festival Legend
Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, Vinayaka Chavithi, or Ganesh Puja. It falls in the Hindu month of Bhadra. This spectacular Festival is celebrated to honor the birth of Lord Ganesh.
The Festival is celebrated with great zeal, joy, and enthusiasm throughout India, especially in Maharashtra.
According to Hindu belief, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to honor Lord Ganesh’s birth, the son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are various stories attached to his birth. However, we put across to you the most relevant story.
Goddess Parvati created Ganpati out of her sandalwood paste in the absence of Lord Shiva. Then, she put him to guard while she went for bathing. Meanwhile, Bhagwan Shiv returned and saw Ganesh guarding the house, who didn’t know Shiv refused to let him enter as per his mother’s orders.
It angered Lord Shiva so much that he cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati saw this dreadful sight, she was very much grieved and took Goddess Kali‘s form and threatened to destroy the world.
God Shiva consoled the Goddess that he would bring the child back to life. So, he ordered his Ganas (followers) to search for a child’s head and bring it to him.
His followers, unfortunately, couldn’t find a child’s head, brought the head of a baby elephant, which Lord Shiva placed on Ganesha’s body and again instilled in his life. It calmed Goddess Parvati, and she was overwhelmed. All the Lords blessed Ganesh.
The day is today celebrated to honor the birth of Lord Ganesh.
How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?
Hindus believe that on Ganesh Chaturthi, Lord Ganesh comes to Earth to bless his devotees. Hence, the Festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. The preparations begin almost a month before the Festival, which is celebrated for around ten days from Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi to Ananta Chaturdashi.
The clay figure of Ganesha is brought and placed on the first day of the Festival in homes, offices, organizations, and public places.
The size of the Ganesh Idol varies from ¾ inches up to 25 feet. Ganesh Idols are usually kept on an elevated platform. Every section of society tries to bring Ganesh Idol and worship the God on Ganesh Chaturthi. Therefore, outdoor Pandals are organized where people come and worship Ganesh.
Here, the priests perform rituals and sing praises, bhajans, and prayers in honor of Bhagwan Ganesh. The Idol is given a bath with pure water (usually Ganga Jal) and then embellished with flowers and ornaments. The Idol is then draped in colorful robes. Aarti is sung, and mantras are chanted.
The sacred mantra for invoking Lord Ganesh’s blessing is – “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha.”
It is believed that chanting the mantras with complete devotion brings life to the Idol. It is also believed that during this period, Ganesh visits his devotees’ homes, bringing him prosperity and good fortune.
Various offerings are presented to him in the form of flowers, scents, laddoos, modaks, incense, etc. Everyone comes dressed in colorful clothes, with an atmosphere of joy and festivity. Temples witness the visit of large numbers of devotees.
Poojas are performed, and bhajans are chanted in Ganesh Temples. He is worshipped for all ten days of the festivals. On the eleventh day, the procession is organized through the streets, and Ganesh Idol is finally immersed in a water body such as a lake, river, or sea. Praises are chanted, and people sing and dance all along the way during the procession.
People sing aloud “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purcha Varshi Laukariya,” which means people pray to Ganesh to come early next year. Then, before immersing it in a water body, people offer flowers, camphor, and coconut to the Ganesh Idol. Various Social Organizations also take part in this celebration.
They organize blood donation camps, free medical check-up camps, and do charitable work. In addition, dramatic performances are scheduled, and many cultural activities are arranged.
Today, Ganesh Chaturthi has become a community event celebrated with great passion, joy, and enthusiasm. Local communities compete to display the biggest and best Ganesha statues and display. Expect very crowded streets filled with boisterous devotees and lots of music. People from all walks of life participate in the grand Festival and celebrate it to transform their lives in all dimensions.
Ganesh Chaturthi History
The Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi originated in the Maratha region. Chhatrapati Shivaji is credited for starting and celebrating the Festival as a public event.
However, the present form of the Festival was introduced by Bhausaheb Laxman Javale in 1892 when he installed the first Sarvajanik (Public) Ganesh Idol – Shrimant Bhausaheb Rangari Ganapati at Bhudwar Peth in Pune, Maharashtra.
In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak applauded the concept of Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav in Kesari Newspaper. He then installed Ganesh Idol in Kesari Wada, Pune, and started preaching Ganesh Utsav.
Lastly, I take this opportunity to wish all my beloved readers a “Very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.”