Ganesh Chaturthi is a national festival and it is also celebrated throughout the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesha blesses all sacred events and is regarded as the protector of all good things and the destroyer of all evils. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the Hindu month of Bhadra, which usually falls in August-September. A lot of preparations are involved in the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, both statewide as well as at homes, which commence more than a month before the festival.
Clay idols of Lord Ganesha are installed at home, which marks the beginning of the celebration. A variety of special dishes are prepared as offerings ( Neivedyam) for the lord. Modak, which is considered to be the lord’s favourite sweet, is the main offering to the lord. There are several other delicacies including pedha, laddoo, barfi, appam, sundal and karanji. After bathing the idol in sacred water (Abhishekam), it is decorated with flower garlands. Then, by chanting sacred mantras and shlokas, the ritual of invoking life into the idol is performed. Arti is performed twice amidst singing of devotional songs. It is believed that Lord Ganesha visits the home of his devotees and showers his blessings to bring prosperity and fortune in their life. At the end of the ten-day festival, the idol is a taken in grand procession and immersed in water. It is a popular belief that after immersion of the idol, Lord Ganesh takes away all troubles of his devotees with him. The actual period of celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at home varies from 1 to 11 days.
Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration at Home in Different States:
In Mumbai, the Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in many homes with a lot of devotion and enthusiasm. The main delicacies include Modak, Pathali, Puran Poli, laddoos, Karanji, and so on.
In Goa, the celebrations vary slightly. Women observe fasts and worship Lord Shiva and Parvati. The popular food delicacies include Nevreo and Paatolleo. In Goa, Ganesh Chaturthi is popularly known as Parab or Chavath. Various musical instruments like Pakhavajs, cymbals and ghumots are played during this festival. A harvest festival called Navyachi Pancham is celebrated the next day. Freshly harvested paddy from the fields is brought home and worshipped.
In Andhra Pradesh, the Ganesh idols are usually made of clay (Matti Vinayakudu), turmeric (Siddhi Vinayakudu) and plaster of paris. The popular festive delicacies include Vundrallu (steamed rice-flour balls), chalividi (cooked rice flour stuffed with jaggery mixture), panakam (a special drink), and vadapappu (soaked moong lentils).
In Karnataka, Ganesh Chaturthi is popularly called Vinayaka Chaturthi or Pillayar Chaturthi. As per Tamil calendar, the festival is celebrated in the Tamil month Avani, from the fourth day after the waxing moon period. Here plaster of paris idols are banned, and the Idols made of clay, coconuts and other organic are used. Here, Gouri festival precedes Ganesh Chaturthi. The popular festival food Modak is known here as kozhukattai. Other delicacy is Sundals, which are particularly prepared in South India.
It can be seen that the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at home varies depending on the various cultural practices prevailing in different states. Whatever be the cultural differences, the core essence of the festival remains the same everywhere, that is, the destruction of obstacles and the acceptance of fortune and prosperity. No doubt, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popularly celebrated festival in India.