The popular Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada (August- September). As per Hindu calendar, the festival begins on the fourth day (Shukla Chaturthi) and continues till the fourteenth day (Anant Chaturdashi) of the first fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada. In this festival, the elephant-headed God named Vinayaka (Ganesha) is worshipped and the festival is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, Vinayaka Cavithi, or Ganesh Chaturthi. Various rituals, customs and traditions are followed in this festival.
Rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi:
Ritual Bath: In the early morning, the devotees take a sacred bath, wear new clothes and get ready to perform the puja of Lord Ganesha. For a Hindu, it is mandatory to keep his body and mind clean and pure before performing any kind of worship.
Arrival of Idol: The wonderful idol of Lord Ganesha, covered with a piece of saffron cloth on its face, is ready and kept at home or at a public pandal.
Adorning of idol: After securely placing on a platform, the idol of Lord Ganesha is adorned with flower garlands and sandalwood paste.
Purna Kumbha Kalasha Sthapana: A brass pot is filled up with rice or holy water.
Pranapratishtha: Holy mantras are chanted to invoke life into the clay idol of Lord Ganesh.
Shhodashopachara: There are sixteen ways of worship involved in this ritual. Essential items required for this ritual include betel leaf, betel nut, incense sticks, blades of dhruva grass – 21 nos, modaks – 21 nos, sandalwood paste, camphor, sindur and cotton wicks. The number 21 signifies the five organs of action, the five organs of perception, five essential pranas, five elements and the mind.
Chanting of Hymns: Mantras and shlokas from Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad and Rig Veda are chanted during these Ganesh Chaturthi rituals. Ganesha Stotra or devotional songs and shlokas from the Narada Purana are also chanted during this occasion.
Ashtottara Shatanamavali: It is the chanting of 108 names of Lord Ganesha and recitation of the story of Ganesh Chathurthi (Ganesh Chaturthi katha).
Arti: Arti of Lord Ganesha is performed to conclude the Ganesh Chaturthi rituals. In the Hindu religion, arti is a ritual of worship by which a sacred earthen lamp lighted with a cotton wick immersed in pure ghee is circulated around the idol. The ritual of arti is performed every morning and evening.
Seeking Blessings: After the rituals of worship are completed, devotees offer a variety of items to Lord Ganesha as Prasad, which include flowers, laddus, pedas, ghee, modaks made up honey, milk and curd. Then, with full of devotion, they seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha and pray him to forgive them for any mistakes that might have happened during the rituals.
Visarjan: After the ten-day celebration and worship, the idol of Lord Ganesha is taken to river or any water body for immersion. It is a huge procession of grand style, shouting the popular slogan “Ganapati Bappa Morya”. Immersion of the idol marks the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Devotees strictly follow the sacred rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi while they worship Lord Ganesha for ten days. The magnificence of the festival is specifically observed in the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. During the celebration people decorate their houses, wear new dresses, observe fasts, sing devotional songs, dance, burst crackers and enjoy with full spirit and devotion.
Ganesh Puja Or Pooja Samagri:
Murti (Clay model of Ganpati)
Kumkum (Red powder)
Ganesh Patri (Sacred leaves)
5 Types of Fruits (Mango, Banana, Apple, Orange, Grapes, Pear, and Peach)
Panchamrut (Mixture of Milk, Curd, Honey, Sugar, Ghee)
Elaichi (Green Cardamom)
Mauli (Red Holy Thread)
Gangajal (Scared water of Ganges)
Gulab jal ( Rose water)
Janeu (Sacred thread)
Gulal (Pink Powder)
Kalash made of Silver, Copper or Stainless Steel (Water jug)
Mithai (Modak) (Sweets)
Cloth for Kalash (Handkerchief, Napkin)
Saree, Petticoat, Blouse ( Saree, Underskirt, Blouse piece)
Laal Kapda (Red cloth)
Safed Kapda (White cloth)
Kachha Dhudh (Un-boiled milk)