Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the holy festivals of Hindus. The festival marks the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesha is considered the god of good luck, prosperity and wisdom. According to the beliefs of the devotees, this festival lasts for 10 or 11 days. To witness this auspicious festival, one can visit Siddhivinayak Temple, Maharashtra. The festival is a celebration of 10 days, and this 10-day ends on Anant Chaturdashi, also known as Ganesh Visarjan. On the 10th day, a huge procession of the idol of Lord Ganesha is taken out, and then the idol is immersed in water.
Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Ganesh Sankathar, Vinayaka Chaturthi or Sankathar Chaturthi, marks the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha has 108 names, including Ganapati, Vighnaharta, Gajanana, Vinayaka, Ekdanta etc. It is said that Ganesha was born during Madhyahna Kala of the Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapatha as per the Hindu calendar. According to Vedic astrology, Madhyahna is the appropriate time for Ganapati Sthapana, Ganapati Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi, i.e. during midday. Devotees start all the rituals of this auspicious festival during Madhyahna (midday), known as Shodashopachara Ganapati Puja. Every year, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in August or September; hence this year, it will be celebrated on 19th September 2023, Tuesday.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to mark the reincarnation of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati ordered her son not let anyone come inside as she is going for a bath. As per the order, Lord Ganesha stood at the entrance and started guarding it. At that moment, Lord Shiva came and asked Lord Ganesha to let him go inside. But he did not allow Lord Shiva to enter, and in anger, Lord Shiva severed his head. When Goddess Parvati came to know, she became furious and inconsolable and threatened lord Shiva that she would destroy the universe if she did not get her son back. Then Lord Shiva asked Lord Brahma for a solution, and at that time, Lord Brahma attached the head of an elephant and brought Lord Ganesha back to life. Since then, this day has been celebrated all over the country as the rebirth of Lord Ganesha.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm by Hindus in India and other countries as well. In India, it is celebrated in Maharashtra, Pune, Goa and Hyderabad, and other countries include Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and Mauritius. The enthusiasm of Ganesh Utsav in Mumbai is unmatched as compared to other cities. In Maharashtra, a great event takes place at Lalbaugcha Raja, where one can witness the devotion, art and culture of Ganesh Chaturthi. Kasba Ganpati, Jogeshwari Ganpati and Guruji Talim pandals in Pune are beautifully decorated during this festival. Merchants of Goa organise pandals and offer prayers to lord Ganesha. Hyderabad is filled with royal touch during Ganesh Utsav, where a huge idol of Lord Ganesha can be seen at Kharitabad in Hyderabad. In Nepal, Ganesh Chaturthi is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, where people offer prayers and also distribute Lord Ganesha's favourite sweet, Modak. In Malaysia, the festival commences with the pranprathistha ritual of Lord Ganesha, where various food and sweets are offered to him for 9 days. In Singapore, the idol of Lord Ganesha is decorated with kumkum and turmeric. Sugarcane and corn are offered to the deity, and people also decorate their entrances with mango leaves.
On Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees wake up early, bathe, and observe a strict fast. During fasting, people are not allowed to consume solid food except water, milk, fruits, juices etc. The first ritual of Ganesh Chaturthi begins with 'Pranpratishtha', where a priest bathes the idol of Lord Ganesha with sandalwood paste and kumkum, then chants mantras to invoke life in the idol. Then Panchopachara Puja is performed, where chanting of Ganesh Chalisa, bhajans, songs and mantras are done with full devotion. In Panchopachara Puja, perfumes, flowers, incense sticks, oil lamps, sweets and many other things are offered to Lord Ganesha. In addition, Lord Ganesha is said to be offered 21 sweet 'modaks' made of coconut and jaggery, one of his favourite sweets.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most awaited festivals for Hindus, majorly for Marathi. Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival to celebrate the rebirth of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is one of the unique deities with the head of an elephant with four arms. He is also believed to be the god of prosperity, wisdom and good fortune. According to the Hindu calendar, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated annually on the fourth day of Bhadrapad (August–September). During this festival, a large population can be seen celebrating, and several gorgeous pandals are organised where Lord Ganesha is kept and worshipped with utmost devotion. On Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees bring an idol of Lord Ganesha, worship him and enjoy good food.
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