Ganesh Chaturthi (also called Vinayaka Chaturthi) is a Hindu festival for Lord Ganesh. 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. This year in 2015, it falls on Thursday, September 17th IST. 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.
The largest celebrations take place in the India state of Maharashtra. In recent years, Ganesh Chaturthi has become more popular and expanded in other states and countries where Hindus reside. Some other states where large processions are also present include Goa, Gujurat, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Many Hindu temples in Canada, US, UK, Trinidad and Guyana also carry-out Ganesh Chaturthi events.
Ganesha Chaturthi begins with the setting of these Ganesh deities (murthys) in bright decorated temporary structures called mandapas. The mandapas are then erected by devotees. Pandits (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 murthy is taken through local streets in a procession accompanied with positive energy in the forms of 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 fully vegetarian (non-veg) dish that originated in the South part of India.
Aum! May Vighna Vinashak destroy all problems & bring peace, health & Happiness. The Chakra team would like to wish everyone a happy and shubh Vinayaka Chaturthi. Ganpati Bappa Morya
Here is a Ganesh Bhajan for the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.