Worship of Lord Ganesha signifies the beginning of any auspicious occasion like marriage, new business ventures etc. Ganesh Chaturthi is generally a ten-day festival that begins on the fourth day (Shukla Chaturthi) and ends on the fourteenth day (Anant Chaturdashi) in the month of Bhadrapada. The duration of worship can vary from 1.5 days to 10 days. The procedure of a 9 days puja at home is as follows.
Procedure of a 9 Days Puja:
Pre Preparation for the Worship: The idol of Lord Ganesh, with a black thread tied around it and face covered, is brought home one day before the puja. When the idol enters home, rice is thrown over it, chanting the slogan Ganapati Bappa Morya.
Observance of the Rituals: The 9-day puja begins with Pranpratishtha, which is a ritual to invoke life into the clay idol amidst chanting of sacred slokas. It is followed by the ritual Shhodashopachara or chanting sixteen fold prayer. Offerings are made to the Lord with 21 durva blades of grass, 21 modakas, coconut, red flowers, and jaggery. Aarti is performed every morning and evening.
Visarjan: This important ritual signifies the end of the 9-day puja. After offering flowers, curd, dhoop, fragrance and food, the idol is immersed in a water body.
Depending on different customs, traditions and convenience, the Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated for 1.5, 3, 5, 7, 9 or 10 days. As per some strange belief prevailing in certain places, devotees are warned not to watch the moon on some specific day.