Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi and how is it celebrated?

4 min read
20 September 2023

Ganesh Chaturthi is a significant Hindu festival that celebrates the rebirth of Lord Ganesha, the revered deity of wisdom and prosperity. This festival, which falls on September 19, 2023, according to the English calendar, holds great importance in Hinduism and cultural traditions.

Lord Ganesha is considered the first god in Hindu mythology, making his worship a customary precursor to any auspicious undertaking. Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Ganesh Utsav, marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, and it carries historical and social significance. The festival was even championed by Lokmanya Tilak as a means to unite and bridge societal divisions.

The Ganesh Utsav celebration spans ten days, commencing with Ganesh Chaturthi. This vibrant festival involves the decoration and installation of Lord Ganapati (Bappa) idols in homes and public pandals, accompanied by pujas (ritual worship) and aartis (devotional songs). Let's break down the ten days of Ganesh Chaturthi:

Day 1 – Welcome and Installation:

The festival begins with the installation and worship of Lord Ganesha's idol in homes and public spaces. Markets brim with clay idols of various sizes, and on this day, Lord Ganesha is ceremoniously welcomed into homes.

Day 2 – The Main Celebration:

The second day, known as "Chaturthi," is the pivotal day of Ganesh Utsav.

Day 3 – Special Prayers and Aarti:

On the third day, devotees offer special prayers and perform rituals, including the Aarti.

Day 4 – Aarti, Puja, and Prasad:

Day four entails further prayers, Aarti, and the distribution of sweets and prasad.

Day 5 – Shodopchar Puja:

The fifth day, "Shodashopachara Puja," involves special prayers dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

Day 6 – Puja and Aarti:

Celebrated as "Shashthi," the sixth day continues with prayers, Aarti, and an emphasis on charitable acts.

Day 7 – Saptapadi Offering:

The seventh day sees the "Saptapadi" ritual and special worship of Lord Ganesha.

Day 8 – Ashtami:

On the eighth day, known as "Ashtami," special prayers, Aarti, and offerings, including Lord Ganesha's favorite modaks, are presented.

Day 9 – Worship of Nine Plants:

The ninth day includes the "Nabapatrika Puja" ritual.

Day 10 – Ganesh Visarjan:

On the final day, the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed in water, bidding farewell. This day is marked by singing aarti, bhajans, and charitable acts.

Ganesh Chaturthi Puja rituals are central to the celebration. Devotees begin by waking up early, taking a purifying bath, and lighting a lamp in their home's temple. The idol of Lord Ganesha is then placed and anointed with holy Ganga water. Many choose to fast on this day and offer flowers, Durva grass, and vermillion to the deity. Aarti and meditation upon Lord Ganesha follow, along with offerings of modaks or laddus, believed to fulfill devotees' wishes.

Betel nut, considered a symbol of Lord Ganesha, is also an essential element in the worship material. Key items for the Puja include a chowki for the ceremony, red cloth, Ganesha idol, Ganga water, cardamom, cloves, betel nut, water urn, Panchamrit (a mixture of milk, curd, honey, sugar, and ghee), Roli, Akshat (rice grains mixed with turmeric), Mauli (sacred thread), red flowers, silverwork, coconut, panchmeva (a mix of five dry fruits), ghee, camphor, and sandalwood.

In summary, Ganesh Chaturthi holds immense cultural and religious significance as it marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, the deity of wisdom and prosperity. The ten-day celebration involves elaborate rituals and ceremonies, culminating in the immersion of Lord Ganesha's idol on the final day, with devotees offering prayers, sweets, and heartfelt devotion throughout the festival.

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