In the year 2012 Ganesh Chaturthi will be
celebrated on the 19th of September. Read on to know more about the celebration
and the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh and is celebrated
with a lot of fervour around the world and particularly in Maharashtra, India. Vinayak Chaturthi or Vinayak Chavithi are the other names of
the festival that is celebrated during the Bhadra
or Bhadrapad month of the Hindu
calendar, which falls usually between mid-August to mid-September.
The Time of Ganesh Puja
The Puja commences in the Amrit
Kall or the auspicious time which is determined by the priests according to
the position of the stars and constellations. The ritual of Ganesh Avahana or welcoming of the Lord
takes place after the Stapana or
installation of the idol. The Madhyana
Kaal is believed to be the auspicious time when Lord Ganesh was born to Shiva and Parvati. The
worship continues in varied timings like for a day and a half, or five, or
seven or eleven days. It basically depends on the respective family tradition
or the commitment of the individual who is performing the Puja. The festival
comes to an end with the completion of the Puja during the Anantha Chaturdashi when the devotees give farewell to the Lord and
immerse the idol in the rivers, lakes, ponds, well or the sea.
The Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations
The preparation of the festival basically starts almost 3-4 months prior
to the Ganesh Chaturthi. The time is
required for the building of the clay models of the God. Lifelike models that
range from as little as 3/4 inches to over 25 feet are built and adorned with
flowers and silks, sometimes even with jewels and ornaments specifically made
for the Lord.
The idol is placed for worship on an elevated platform in homes or in
outdoor tents on playgrounds or lawns so that all the devotees can offer
prayers and take Darshan of the Lord.
The chief priest who presides and conducts the Puja is usually found
to be clad in a shawl and red silk dhoti. The ceremony of invoking life into
the idol is then commenced amidst the sound of conch shells, bells and the loud
chanting of mantras. This ritual of
invoking life is known as â€śPranapathishthaâ€ť.
This is then followed by the elaborate sixteen ways of paying tribute to the
Lord. This ritual is known as â€śShhodashopacharaâ€ť.
Offerings to Lord Ganesh
Lord Ganesh is believed to be very fond of â€śModakâ€ť. It is a sweet preparation made of rice flour and twenty-one
Modaks are offered to the Lord along
with coconut and jaggery. Apart from these twenty-one â€śDurvaâ€ť blades or trefoil and red flowers are offered. A paste of â€śRakta-Chandanâ€ť or red sandal paste along with milk is poured over the
idol for anointing the Lord. Ganesh
Stotra from Narada Purana, Vedic
hymns from the Rigveda and mantras from the Ganapati Atharva Upanishad are chanted to please the Lord.
Ganesh Visarjan - The Farewell
On the eleventh day of Anatha
Chaturdashi, Idols of Lord Ganesh are carried out in procession through the
streets. People from all walks of life rejoice the annual homecoming of the
Lord amidst singing, dancing and greeting each other. The idol of the Lord is
then immersed in the river, pond, lake, well or sea marking his journey to his
fatherâ€™s (Lord Shankarâ€™s) abode in Kailash.
Devotees believe that as the Lord leaves for Kailash, he takes away all the sorrow, pain and misfortunes of his
devotees. The entire atmosphere resounds with the chants of â€śGanapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi
Laukariyaâ€ť which means that â€śO Lord
Ganesh, come again early next yearâ€ť.