What is the Importance of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvati, he is depicted as an elephant’s head on a human body. Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is immensely celebrated occasion in the Hindu religion Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi is the birthday of Lord Ganesh. It is hugely popular Hindu festival specially in western India because Ganesh is one of the most popular deities among people for worship. This day is a complete holiday in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. It lasts for 10 days and ends on the Anant Chaturdashi. It falls in the Hindu month of Bhadra i.e. August – September.
The ritual to bring and place Ganesha idols:
People bring decorated Ganesha idol made from clay to their home and place him on the raised platform by enchanting mantras. On larger scale huge Ganesh idols are decorated and placed in the outdoor tents or public pandals for people to worship and pay their homage who do not install idols at their home. These idols are placed in the presence of priest amidst mantras and chanting known as ‘prana-pratishtha’ ((installation of the Idol and make him alive) followed by ‘shodashopachara’ i.e. 16 ways of paying tribute with coconut, jaggery, 21 ‘modakas’, 21 ‘durva’ (grass blades), red flowers, and sandal paste.
The ceremony is celebrated by worshiping Lord Ganesh and chanting Vedic hymns on daily basis for 10 days. However, the day of celebration varies from a day and a half, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days or 11 days depending on the tradition and commitment of the individuals.
On 11th day Ganesh idols are immersed in the water of sea or river amidst dancing and singing to bid adieu him to his abode in Kailash and promise to see him next year. It is believed that Lord Ganesha also take away the misfortunes of men with him as he is known as “Vigana Harta” (one who removes the obstacles).
What should you do on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi:
Wake up early in the morning in Brahmamuhurta. Take bath, go to the temple, offer him coconut, modak or pudding, read or listen to the stories of Lord Ganesha, and pray him to remove the obstacles from your life for enlightment and for inner spiritual strength. One can also bring and place Ganesh idol to his home but he has to strictly follow the discipline.
Moon Sighting on Ganesha Chaturthi
It is believed that one should not sight the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. Sighting moon on Ganesh Chaturthi creates Mithya Dosham or Mithya Kalank (कलंक) which means false accusation of stealing something. According to puranik legends, God Chandra has been cursed by Lord Ganesha that anyone who sighted moon on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month would be cursed with Mithya Dosha and would be tainted and dishonoured in the society.
श्री वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्य कोटी समप्रभा
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्व-कार्येशु सर्वदा॥
Shree Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvada॥
Salutations to the supreme Lord Ganesh, whose curved trunk (vakra-tunda) and massive body (maha-kaayaa) shines like a million suns (surya-koti) and showers his blessings on everyone (sama-prabhaa). Oh my lord of lords Ganesh (kurume-deva), kindly remove all obstacles (nir-vighnam), always (sarva-) and forever (sarvadaa-) from all my activities and endeavors (sarva-kaaryeshu).