Lord Ganesha is the Hindu God of wealth, sciences, knowledge, wisdom, and prosperity. Hindu devotees worship him and seek his blessings before the commencement of any new work. Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious festival among the Hindu community which is celebrated widely for 10 days each year.
Also known as the Vinayaka Chaturthi, it is a very colourful and exciting celebration to commemorate the birthday of Lord Ganesha. This 10-day long festival celebrates the homecoming of Lord Ganesha in the month of Bhadra. Lord Ganesha is also called Gajanana, Ganesh, Gajadant, which are among his 108 names.
According to the best astrologer in India, this festival falls in the month of Bhadra, which is in the month of August – September as per the Gregorian calendar. In 2021, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on September 10.
Auspicious time for Pooja:
The date of Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon period (Shukla Chaturthi) in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada. This is August or September each year. The festival is celebrated for 10 or 11 days according to the Hindu lunar calendar, with the biggest spectacle taking place on the last day called Anant Chaturdashi.
Lord Ganesha is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. There are various stories behind his birth but two of them are the most common ones.
According to the best astrologers in India, Lord Ganesha was created from the dirt of the body of Goddess Parvati. It is believed that one day, in the absence of Lord Shiva, when Goddess Parvati had gone to take bath, she created Ganesh to protect and provide security and privacy by guarding the bathroom door. When Lord Shiva returned and demanded to see Goddess Parvati, Ganesha stopped him. Angered, Lord Shiva got into a riff with him and severed his head from the body of Ganesha. When Parvati came to know about this, she was enraged and made Lord Shiva promise to get the child’s head back. Unable to find it, Lord Shiva then replaced the head of Ganesha with the head of an elephant. And that is how Lord Ganesha is said to have been born. This is also why he was named Gajanan.
Another legend is such that the Devas requested Shiva and Parvati to create Ganesha so that he can be a Vighnakarta (creator of obstacles) for Rakshasas (demons), thus being a Vighnaharta (averter of obstacles) and helping the Devas.
Importance of Ganesh Chaturthi:
It is believed that all those who pray dedicatedly to Lord Ganesha are able to fulfill all their wishes and dreams. They are set free of sins and it leads them on the path of knowledge and wisdom. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with pomp and show and on a grand scale, where people from all castes of the society can come together, pray, and be united. At home, Ganesh idols are installed and decorated with flowers and leaves. Offerings are made and poojas are organized.
Then, after a period of 10 days, the idols of Lord Ganesh are immersed in a water body in an attempt to bid farewell to his mortal journey. This is called the Visarjan. The visarjan is followed by loud chanting of “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudcha Varshi Lokar Ya”, which means ‘Lord Ganesha, come back soon next year.’
Sweets and savories like modak, jaggery, and coconut are offered to Lord Ganesha. It is believed that Lord Ganesh loves modak, a sweet dumpling made from rice flour mixed with coconut and jaggery. This offering is made to the idol as Bhog.
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Celebrations and Rituals:
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi begins with Pranapratishhtha, where the mantras are chanted by a priest. Offerings that are loved by Lord Ganesha are placed in front of his idol. These include modak, shrikhand, payasam, coconut rice, motichoor laddoo, and other sweets. Devotees visit temples and special pandals set up for Ganesh Chaturthi to pay their respects to Lord Ganesha.
People also sometimes choose to bring Ganapati idols home ahead of the festival and host them for the 10-day festivities. On the Visarjan day, devotees pay respect to him as he is seen off, taking all our worries away and leaving blessings behind.
How to worship Lord Ganesha during this festival:
First, it is important to cleanse your body by taking a bath in the name of God, which is said to wash away the sins and miseries of life. It perpetuates happiness, health and wealth, and brings you children and salvation according to the best astrologer in Kolkata.
The second practice is to offer white flowers to the gods in order to bring success and fame.
The third ritual would be to offer grass as it is said to bring good luck, prosperity, and children.
Fourth, offer vermilion or Sindoor to the Gods so as to bring good fortune.
Fifth, households must light incense sticks as it brings fame. Sixth, devotees should offer sweets and laddoos to Lord Ganesh as it will help you fulfill your desires.
Lastly, Mantra Pushpanjali or offering of flowers is made to Lord Ganesha to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes one has made.