Ganesh chaturthi is a ten days festival celebrated as mark of Lord Ganesha’s birth. Ganesha, the God of new beginnings is believed to be the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Chaturthi means fourth day. Traditionally, the festival is held on the fourth day of the first fortnight in the month of Bhaadrapaada in Hindu calendar, usually in August or September in the Gregorian calendar.
History of the festival:
It is believed that the festival is celebrated as a public event since the era of Maratha King Shivaji. The current Maharashtra public festival was introduced by Bhausaheb Laxman Javale. Lokmanya tilak changed the festival into a grand celebration to bridge the gap between Brahmins and non-Brahmins.
Rituals during the festival:
There are four rituals during this festival. Pranapratishhtha, the process of infusing the deity into a idol. The second ritual Shhodashopachara is paying tribute to the Lord in sixteen forms. Uttarpuja includes a ritual after which the idol could be shifted after its infusion. And the last ritual is Ganapati Visarjan that is immersion of the idol in the river.
Celebrations at home and in public:
Public celebration includes installing and worship of clay idols of the elephant-headed Lord in pandals and group worship. The festival features cultural activities such as singing, orchestra and also community activities. At home Bappa is worshipped with family and friends. The idol is worshipped in the morning and evening with the offerings of flowers, durva, karanji and modaks. The worship ends with an aarti in honour of Ganesha
Places to witness:
The festival is celebrated with great pomp and show in Mumbai and there are many places to look for. The temple of Ganpatipule and Siddhi Vinayak are some names. Ganesh Chaturthi is believed to be has an origination from Pune so the city has its own tradition of the festival. One can visit Kasbapeth or Saras Baug. Bengaluru also has some popular temples Panchamukha Heramba Ganapati temple, Ananthanagar Ganapati temple to name some. One of the largest Ganesh idols in the world is set up at Khairtabad in Hyderabad. It takes 3-4 months for construction of idols. The festival is also celebrated in othe parts of India such as Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerela, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Food to look for:
Modak, a sweet dish prepared using rice or flour stuffed with grated coconut and jiggery is believed to be Lord’s favorite. Twenty one pieces of the sweet is offered to the God in one plate. You may also find chocolate modak made from khoya and chocolate. Other sweet dishes includes coconut ladoo, motichoor ladoo and besan ladooo.
Ganesha, Vighnaharta or the obstacle remover is believed to take away all the obstacles with his immersion after the ten day festival. The festival is very important for students as Ganesha is Buddhi Pradaayaka, one who grants intelligence. The festival is also believed to bring Riddhi, prosperity and Siddhi, attainment.