Ganesh Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha’s Birthday – September 2012
Ganesh Chaturthi (also called Vinayaka Chaturthi) festival and celebrations have begun today all over the world. It is a Hindu festival for Lord Ganesha who is believed to have a presence on earth for all his devotees for the duration of this festival. Ganesh Chaturthi is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada and therefore usually falls between mid August and mid September on an annual basis. The popular Hindu festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (4th day of the waxing moon). The date usually falls between 19th of August and 20th of September. The celebration lasts usually for 10-12 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi. This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha.
Festivals are mainly held in the Indian state of Maharashtra. However, you can find Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations in Goa, Gujurat, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Vinayaka Chaturthi begins with the setting of these Ganesh murthis in bright decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures called mandapas. The mandapas are then erected by devotees. Pundits (Hindu Priests) then symbolically invokes energy into the statue by chanting mantras. This ritual is called the Pranapratishhtha. Then the ritual Shhodashopachara (sixteen ways of paying tribute) follows. During the ceremony, vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted. For ten days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Lord Ganesh is worshipped.
On the 11th day, the murthi is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a body of water (usually lakes or rivers) symbolizing a ritual see-off of Ganesha in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees, this is the ritual known as Ganesh Visarjan. All devotees then join in this final procession shouting “Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya” (O lord Ganesha, come again speedily next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the river to immerse it.
During the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi) the principal food dish is modak (also known as modagam or modakam), which is a vegetarian south indian dish.
The Chakra team would like to wish everyone a happy and shubh Ganesh Chaturthi. Jai Shri Ganesh!
Here is a Ganesh Bhajan for the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.