Ganesha Chaturthi is
celebrated with great joy and devotion in India. People bring Ganesha
Idols and worship them during Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is
considered as the day on which Lord Ganesha comes down on earth to give
blessings to his devotees. Read on to know about the significance of
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated as Lord Ganesha's birthday by the Hindus throughout the world. He is considered as the eldest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. This festival is also known as Vinayak Chaturthi or Vinayak Chavithi. It is celebrated with pomp and show in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadra that usually falls in between mid August and mid September.
Significance of Ganesha Chaturthi
This festival is celebrated with extreme vigour and enthusiasm especially in western India, specifically in Maharashtra. Here the celebration lasts for ten days and the deity of Ganesha is kept for all these ten days even by common people of Maharashtra. Worship of Lord Ganesha was started by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and this was done as a non-community affair.
Lord Ganesha is an elephant headed God and is worshipped prior to all Hindu Gods. His name is repeated before starting any work and is believed to be very fortunate and propitious. People even keep the idol or image of Lord Ganesha on their doors to let positive vibrations enter the house. The image of God is imprinted on invitation cards for weddings and the presence of the Lord is solicited on the occasion by worshipping the Lord first.
Lord Ganesha is considered as the God of power and wisdom. There are various stories associated that show how cleverly and coolly he used to deal with complicated matters. There are several names given to the Lord after all his good doings like Gajanana, Dhoomraketu, Ekdanta, Vakratunda, Sidhdhi Vinayaka and many more.
Celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi
Clay model of Lord Ganesha is brought and worshiped for all the ten days during Ganesh Chaturthi. The size of the model varies from 3/4 inches up to 25 feet. Homes, various organizations and public places bring models of their choice and keep it on an elevated platform. Even poor and lower middle calls people try to bring home the idol and worship Lord that day.
Outdoor tents are organized so that people can visit there and pay homage to Lord Ganesha that day. Here the prayers and offerings are presented to the Lord by priests who come well dressed in red silk dhoti and shawl. After this, everyone is free to worship and they get prasad as blessings from Lord Ganesha.
Women make 'modakas' and offer Lord Ganesha on this auspicious day. The Lord is worshipped in the same manner in morning and in the evening for all 10 days. On the eleventh day, the idol is taken on a procession through the streets of the city and then immersed in water after a pooja done on the riverbank or seacoast.
The immersion is done with people shouting "Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purcha Varshi Laukariya" which means people are praying to Lord Ganesha to come early next year. The final offering is usually flowers, camphor and coconut.
Various social organizations are also part of this celebration. A number of organizations like blood donation camps, free medical check up camps, charitable works, dramatic performance, several cultural activities and many more are arranged.
Importance of worshipping Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha is worshipped daily in a Hindu family and this is done as a matter of routine and devotion. The celebration of Ganesha Chturthi is considered as a community event and was restarted by Lokmanya Tilak, a freedom fighter, who made use of this as a tool to spread the message and gather public support uniting all sections of Hindus.