Ganesh Chaturthi, also called Vinayaka Chavithi, is a Hindu festival which is celebrated for 5-10 days every year, marking the birthday of the beloved elephant-headed Lord Ganesha. The festival is celebrated in the Bhadra month as per the Hindu calendar which generally falls in mid-August to September. This year Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated today, 10 September 2021. 

Ganesha is known as the God of wealth, sciences, knowledge, wisdom and prosperity, and that’s why most Hindus remember him and seek his blessings before starting any important work. Lord Ganesh is known by 108 different names like Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vighnaharta, among others.

It’s believed that devotees who pray to Ganesha are able to fulfil their wishes and desires. So, the main essence of Ganesh Chaturthi is that devotees who pray to him are set free of sins and it leads them on the path of knowledge and wisdom.

The excitement of Ganesh Chaturthi settles in weeks before the festival actually begins. Artisans start preparing clay idols of Ganesha in different poses and sizes. Over the years, with growing environmental awareness, people have started celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in an environmentally friendly way such as getting Ganesha idols made of natural clay/mitti and using only flowers and natural items for decorating the pandals.

Rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi

There are four main rituals which are performed during the 5-10-day long festival: 

  1. The Ganesha idols are installed in beautifully decorated ‘pandal’ at homes, temples or localities. The statue is also decorated with flowers, garlands and lights. A ritual called Pranapratishhtha is observed where a priest chants mantra to invoke life in the deity.
  2. Prayers are then offered to Ganesha’s idol in 16 different ways. This ritual is called Shhodashopachara. 
  3. The Uttarpuja ritual is then performed which is about bidding farewell to Ganesha with deep respect.
  4. This is followed by Ganpati Visarjan, a ceremony where the idol is now immersed in water. It’s said that after the immersion, Lord Ganesha, who listened to the prayers and request of his devotees for ten days while residing in the idol, returns back to his home (sacred Kailash Mountain). 

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all colleagues celebrating. 

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