Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration of our very own Lord Vinayaka, the darling of the masses. Major cities of India like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and the others of the like. With joyous energies and pandals of all sizes small and big, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with immense passion and devotion.
It is a ten-days Hindu festival to honor the elephant head God on his birthday. Lord Ganesh, a friend to all and the bringer of good fortune, wisdom, success, and prosperity. He is the destroyer of evil and one’s sorrows and obstacles accumulated over the past and grants a new lease of life.
The day becomes spiritual by the ritualistic worship of Lord Ganesh. The image of Ganesh is believed to absorb all the negativity in one’s household and life, as one offers prayers to him by way of chanting, offering plenty of tasty food including modak (sweet rice dumplings) which is his favorite and by lighting lamps.
The image is kept at home for pooja and then immersed in water, symbolic of dissolving all the negative energies in one’s life including sorrow, pain, and despair.
He is generally worshipped before the commencement of anything auspicious, he removes obstacles and paves the way to success. He is the god of wisdom.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great devotion and fun. It is a street festival where huge idols of Lord Ganesh are placed and prayers are offered. It is accompanied by the singing of bhajans, lighting of fire crackers, food distribution and people gathering to dance and sing.
How this festival is celebrated across the country –
Public preparations for the festival begins months ahead. They are usually funded by local residents, businesses and community organizations. The idol making in Maharashtra usually begins with “Padya Pooja” or worshipping the feet of Lord Ganesh. The idols are brought to “pandals” or temporary structures usually 15–20 days before. The pandals have elaborate decoration and lighting.
The public celebrations of this festival are quite popular and are organized by local youth groups or neighborhood associations. Funds for this public festival is collected from members of the association arranging the celebration. The idols accompanying the statues are installed in the temporary shelter called pandals or mandaps. The festival features cultural activities such as singing, theatre and orchestral performances and various community activities like free medical checkups, blood donation sites and donations to the poor.
Ganesh Chaturthi, in addition to its religious aspects, is an important economic activity in Mumbai, Surat, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai. Many artists, industries, and businesses earn a significant amount of their living from the festival, which is a stage for budding artists. Members of other religions also participate in the celebrations.
The idols can be made from a wide variety of things and thus, every year communities try to surpass each other by coming up with creative ways to make their idol. Idols are also made of coconuts and other organic products.
At home, the festival begins with the purchase and then the ceremonial installation of a clay murti (idol). Families decorate a small, clean corner with flowers and other colorful items before installing the idol. When the idol is installed, it and its shrine are decorated with flowers and other materials. The idol is worshiped in the morning and evening with offerings of flowers, durva (strands of young grass), karanji and modaks (jaggery and coconut flakes wrapped in rice flour dumplings). The worship ends with the singing of an aarti in honour of Ganesha, other gods, and saints.
Domestic celebrations end after 1 1⁄2, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days. At that time, the idol is ceremoniously brought to a body of water (such as a lake, river or the sea) for immersion. In Maharashtra, Ganeshotsav also incorporates other festivals, namely Hartalika and the Gauri festival, the former is observed with a fast by women on the day before Ganesh Chaturthi whilst the latter by the installation of idols of Gauris.
In Karnataka, the Gowri festival precedes Ganesha Chaturthi, and people across the states wish each other well. In Andhra Pradesh, the Ganesha idols of clay (Matti Vinayakudu) and turmeric (Siddhi Vinayakudu) are usually worshiped at home with plaster of Paris idols.
In order to avoid problems due to the large crowd, people generally avoid going to large water body for Visarjan. People do Ganapati Visarjan in a bucket or tub of water and later they use the clay in the garden.
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