Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in India

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Ganesh Chaturthi in India

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Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in India

Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesha, one of the most important Gods of the Hindu Mythology. The festival is usually celebrated on the 4th day of Bhadarva Shukla – paksh of Hindu calendar in ( August and September ). According to the Hindu belief Ganeshji is worshipped first on all auspicious occasions, whether it is a marriage or a religious function.

Ganeshji is the foremost god of the Hindu Pantheon. He is regarded as the destroyer of all problems and obstacles. That’s the reason in Hindu family whenever they start a new venture they perform his puja he is regarded as an extremely benevolent god, fulfilling the wishes of those who pray to him sincerely.

Ganesh is remembered on chauth or chaturthi, the 4th day of every month of the Hindu calendered, but most of all on Ganesh Chaturthi, which is celebrated as his birthday. On the day of the festival Hindus performs pujas at temples and even in homes.

Fasting, feasting and distribution of sweets mainly ladoos are offered to him. These are some of the important aspects of Ganesh Chaturthi rituals in India. After the festival is over they immerse the idols in the nearby water body, which are sacred.

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi symbolizes Good omen. It also inspires the devotees to have trust and faith in God all mighty and obey the commands of God.

Ganesh Chaturthi celebration begins much before the festival as people starts preparing by cleaning the house and whitewashing. During the festival people purchase small images from shops and brought into home. Larger clay made images are made by the professional craftsmen and set up in pandals and pavilions throughout the country.

It is a festival, which is observed through out the country. Especially in Maharashtra side this festival has a special significance and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. The festival is also symbolic of the advent of all festivals dedicated to other Indian Gods.

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Legend of Ganesh Chaturthi

There are various legends associated with Ganesh Chaturthi or the birth of Ganesha. According to Hindu beliefs Lord Ganesha or Ganapati symbolizes wisdom and good omen or good luck. All the new ventures at place of work or at home starts by reciting the mantra of Lord Ganesha.

Ganeshji also has long been associated with commerce and trade merchants still pay homage to him. In households, it’s common for small offerings of money, flowers and food to be placed before one of the family’s effigies of Ganeshji.

These tokens please him and he therefore brings more wealth, prosperity and food to the family. During the time of Ganesh Chaturthi perform his puja.

Sweets in form of ladoos are distributed; milk is offered to idols of Lord Ganeshji at home and at temples, and worshippers visit Ganeshji temples for Ganesh Puja. Meetings, gatherings, weddings, functions and any Indian celebration are incomplete without the puja of lord Ganesh.

According to legends goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva, created Lord Ganesh, as she needed a doorkeeper while taking bath. However, while Parvati was taking her bath, Lord Shiva happened to come there and as Ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter the house.

As a result, Lord Shiva got angry and he beheaded Ganesha. But after realizing that he had beheaded his own son, lord Shiva used the head of an elephant in place of Ganesha’s head.

In this way, Lord Ganesha acquired the image of the elephant – headed God and he also blessed him that he will be regarded as the foremost God and his puja will be held before the puja of any other God. And the person who will perform his puja will be bestowed with wealth, peace and prosperity.

That’s the reason that before any auspicious occasion Hindus performs the puja of Ganeshji to attain success in it. He is considered to be the God of good luck and prosperity. Thus Ganesh Chaturthi marks the celebration of the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha all over India with great festivities and zest.

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Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations in Mumbai

At the end of the last century India saw the growth of embryonic Indian nationalism, Bal Gangadhar Tilak the foremost leader during that time started Ganesh Utsav as a social and religious function.

He started with a motive to spread communal harmony. Thus, since 1882, the Ganesh Chaturthi festival has been celebrated throughout Maharashtra with community enthusiasm and participation. People from all the community participate in the celebration.

It regarded as one of the most important festival of the Maharashtra region. It is a celebration of seven to ten days. Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting and decoration and Ganeshji is fervently worshipped for those seven to ten days.

Lord Ganesh, the patron deity of Maharashtra, is the God of wisdom. Much before the festival the celebration starts. People start their preparation with great enthusiasm all over the state.

This ten – day festival begins with the installation of the deity, who is then worshipped daily till the immersion on the final day. Small Ganesh idols are installed in homes. Idols can tower 10m high and weigh several tones. On the tenth and final day the festival ends with the ceremony of immersion of the idols in the Arabian Sea.

It is called Ganesh Visarjan meaning immersan of Lord Ganesha. The processions fill the streets with devotees singing, dancing and chanting ‘Ganapati Bappa MoryaGeneral Studies Question Bank CD

During the immersion ceremony huge crowds move in a procession carrying idols of Ganesha towards the Chowpatty beach where the idols are emerged. These processions, starts in the afternoon and continue till late night.

Although this festival is observed in all parts of the country, it is celebrated in big way in Maharashtra where it is celebrated both publicly and privately. Apart from celebrations at home, there are also many public celebrations called Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava.

These are community pujas held by building pandals. Maharashtra is the most happening place to be during the time of this festival. Besides Maharashtra, Tamilnadu is another place where the festival is celebrated with great festivity and zeal.

Lord Ganesha is worshiped in the temples as well as at each and every home accompanied by the preparation of ‘modak,’ a sweet supposed to be the favorite of Lord Ganesha. Orissa and Pune are also famous for their celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

It is a celebration where people from each and every community participate with excitement and joy. During this ten days of the festival Maharashtra has a new look altogether it is the best time to visit the place. It portrays the true culture and tradition of the Indian beliefs.

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Ganesh Chaturthi Rituals at Home

The preparation of the festival begins much before the ten – day rite. Houses are cleaned and even white washing or painting is done. Especially the place where the idol will be kept are cleaned and decorated several days before the festival. Newly molded idols of Ganesha are bought from the shops, which are there only for the festival purpose.

The idols are carried with their faces covered with a saffron cloth amidst chanting and the sound of cymbals. In the evening it is placed properly at the place where the puja will be held.

The priest then performs a ritual by which the idol, is said to be imbued with life. Next follows the traditional puja. Worshippers bathe and the priest wears a silken lower garment, usually red, with a shawl around his shoulders. On this day every household in Maharashtra installs a small clay murti of Ganeshji in their homes. He is offered pujan and prasad until Sud 14 – Anant Chaturthi.

In Gujarat and in the Swaminarayan mandirs a clay or plaster of paris murti of Ganesh is installed on Ganesh Chaturthi and worshiped for ten days. The murti is submerged on ‘Parivartini‘ i.e. ‘Jal Zilani‘ Ekadashi. Devotees observe a waterless fast. The traditional prasad offered to Lord Ganeshji are chopped cucumbers and ‘ladus‘ – sweet balls of wheat flour, ghee and sugar. Five pujas and arti are offered, together with a boat ride after each arti before Ganeshji’s ‘Visarjan‘ – submergence.

In this manner Ganesh is a deity of auspiciousness, wisdom and wealth. Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival inspiring devotees to inculcate redemptive virtues in their lives. The puja begins according to the time mentioned on the ritual calendar.

The ceremony begins by placing the image, usually made of terracotta, in a sacred arena, symbolic of a throne. The worshipper then sips holy water and performs pranayama; he then bows and prostrates before Ganesha and all the other gods. The Ganapati Aarti and the Atharvashirdha ( devotional chanting ) are sung to the accompaniment of cymbals, bells and rhythmic clapping.

The modak, a sweetmeat of rice – flour and sweetened coconut, are offered to the deity along with flowers. This completes the rituals of the first day. For the remaining days, the image is worshipped, morning and evening, with simple recitations of the Ganesha Stuti, devotional songs, offerings of flowers and incense, and lamps. The event is now the celebration of all community where everyone participates.

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