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The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ and ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’, commemorates for the birthday of lord Ganesh. The festival is celebrated all around the world. However, the grandest celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi can be experienced in the state of Maharashtra in India.
About Lord Ganesh
In Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesh who is also known as Vinayagar and Ganapati (Lord of Ganas) has been depicted to be the son of Lord Shiva and his wife Mata Parvati. The elephant-faced Lord is one of the most popular of all Hindu deities. He is the deity of wisdom and prosperity, who confers the same virtues to those who devotedly worship him. He is the Vignaharta, a Lord whose blessings hold an ability to ward off all troubles and obstacles from one’s path of life. According to the beliefs and principles of Hindu religion, nothing in real should get initiated without the worship of Lord Ganesh. Worshipping him before getting started with anything ensures success. Also, it wards off all probable difficulties and troubles which might have hindered someone from achieving the purpose.
Time of Celebration
In certain parts of the country, the festive celebrations last for as long as ten days. According to Hindu calendar, this festival initiates on the fourth day of the Shukla Paksha of the month of Bhadra, and ends ten days after on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi which is the fourteenth day of waxing moon period. However, it is not essentially a celebration of ten days everywhere. Different people celebrate it for different time periods, varying from one and a half days to 5 days, 7 days, and 11 days.
Ganesh Idol in Celebrations
1. As a part of celebrations, life-size idols of Lord Ganesh are crafted, which can be as long as 25 inches. Besides having one for their own house, people get them prepared for community celebrations. These idols get crafted well in advance, usually three four months prior to the festival day. As the period of festivity gets initiated, people establish them in their houses and in their communities (as in Mandap) on a raised platform, so that everyone can see Lord and Lord can see everyone.
2. At the time of establishing idol, a priest carries out the ritualistic process of ‘Pranprathishtha’, as a part of which, idol is energised by chanting of Mantras. It is extremely important as without this process, an idol is considered nothing but a piece of stone.
3. It is followed with another ritual of 'Shhodashopachara', which is about paying homage to the Lord in sixteen different ways. As a part of this ritual, idol is adorned with Rakht Chandan (red cream and sandal paste), and Prasad is offered to him. While going through this process, priest keeps on chanting hymns in adoration of Lord.
4. On each day of the ten days festivities, devotees offer prayers to Lord’s idol. On the eleventh day, his idol is brought out for street procession. While carrying that idol, people dance, sing, and play with cheer. The procession is headed towards the river or sea where the idol is immersed, with everyone singing ‘Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya’ which means that ‘O Father Ganpati, come again early next year’. This immersion of idol in water is done with a belief that it takes away all the misfortunes and troubles away from life. It is believed that after his stay of ten days at their devotees’ place, Lord Ganesh proceeds towards his abode in Kailash.
Rituals for the Day
1. Wake up early in the morning, take a bath, and sit down in meditation contemplating about different legends of Lord Ganesh.
2. Visit any nearby temple and offer worship to Lord Ganesh. As a part of worship, offer coconut and sweet pudding to the Lord.
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