Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival that is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Hindus in India and abroad. The festival commemorates the birth anniversary of the elephant-headed deity, Ganesha.
People buy small idols of Ganesha and do Poojas at home. There will be larger community celebrations, too, organized by various groups and associations. Usually, it is a ten-day festival. On the concluding day, the idol is taken out in procession and immersed in a waterbody like the sea, or river, or even a lake or a pond.
Why Ganesh Chaturthi is Celebrated?
Ganesh Chaturthi is on the fourth day of Bhadrapada month (August – September). Devotees believe that Ganesha descends to earth on this day to bestow his blessings on them. It is a popular festival in India. He is said to be the deity who has the power to remove all obstacles and hence is known as ‘Vighna-Harta’. He is also the giver of fortune, so he is called ‘Sukha-Karta’..
People perform Pooja for Ganesha in their homes. They also offer his favorite things as neivedyam. They include modaks, laddoos, barfis, etc. Let us look at the things needed for the Pooja.
Items for Pooja
- Eco-friendly idol of Ganesha
- Sandalwood paste (chandan)
- Hibiscus or any other red-colored flowers
- Durva grass
- Incense sticks
- Elevated table for keeping the idol
- Table cloth and decorative lights
- Diyas or lamps for arati
How to perform the Ganesh Chaturthi Pooja
The house should be swept and cleaned thoroughly. Keep the Ganesha idol on the table. Invite friends and relatives for the Pooja, if you wish. Ganesha slokas may be recited to welcome the deity into your home. If you don’t know how to perform the Pooja you can get a priest to come home and do it.
- Once the house is cleaned, take a bath and wear clean or new clothes.
- Use coconut and banana leaves to prepare the Pooja mandap. Mango leaves and flowers, and leaves of the Ashoka tree, too, may be used to decorate it.
- The idol is bathed in scented water and decorated with flowers.
- Fill a pot or kalash with water and rice and keep it near the idol.
- Place the idol on the mandap saying, “Om Ganeshaya Namaha’.
- Begin the Pooja by chanting Ganesha mantras or the 108 names of Ganesha.
- Light the lamp or diya and offer arati to the deity, while singing hymns to Ganesha.
- Neivedya comprising special dishes like modaks, karanji, peda, vada, sundal, appam, laddoos, and barfis can be offered to Ganesha. Modaks are his favorites. Fruits, too, can be offered.
- Ganesh Chaturthi story can be recited once the Pooja is over. You can chant bhajans and mantras too, as it is believed that this makes the idol come to life when they are chanted with great devotion.
- In some parts of south India, an idol of Gauri is also worshipped, along with that of Ganesha. Women observe Gauri Vrata as “Mangala Gauri’ for an auspicious life and prosperity.