Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most famous festivals, celebrates the birthday of lord Ganesha throughout India. Ganesh is one of the five Hindu lords. Lord Ganesha is considered the initiator and protector of all the rituals and festivals.
Origin of Ganesh Chaturthi
Hindu festivals are the process of connecting this materialistic world with the world of divinity. These festivals are associated with changes in the rhythm of the seasons as new seasons start after various festivals.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day festival that starts on the Chaturthi (fourth day) of Sukhal Paksha in the Bhadrapada (waxing moon) month and ends on the Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day)of the waxing moon period as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
It is a belief that lord Ganesha visits earth during these ten days to bless his devotees. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with enthusiasm throughout India, especially in Maharashtra.
This year Ganesh Chaturthi will fall from 31st August to 9 September. During these ten-day devotees bring lord Ganesh idols to home and worship the god of wisdom and good fortune, seeking his blessing for a happy life.
Preparations for the festival begin a month earlier as craftsmen and artisans start making statues (murtis ) of Ganesh with clay in different sizes. They are installed in decorated pandals or at home.
Murtis are worshipped for ten days, accompanied by immense fanfare. The priest conducts regular puja by chanting mantras and offering special Modaks, water and flowers as devotees sing and dance while shouting “Ganpati Bappa Morya”.
On the eleventh day of the festival, these Murtis are taken to water bodies (river or sea) to submerge them in water. Devotees bid farewell to lord Ganesha and prayed for his early return.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in different states of India with great enthusiasm and joy but is known by other names. Some of these states are below:
- Goa– Chavath and Parab or Parva
- Karnatka- Ganesh Habba
- Andra Pardesh- Vinyaka Chavithi
- Telangana- Vinayaka Chaturthi
- Tamil Nadu- Pillayar Chaturthi
- Kerala- Lambudhara Piranalu
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated outside India because Indians moved and settled abroad in various countries. They also carried their religious traditions with them. One among them is Ganesh Chaturthi. It is celebrated in countries like the U.K, Canada, France, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
Although Ganesh Chaturthi is said to be of ancient origin, it was not part of the Maharashtrian culture until introduced during the Maratha empire.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the first leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule, who converted Ganesh into an influential culture and religious symbol of unity. Bal Gangadhar tilak reinvented Ganesh Chaturthi from an annual family celebration to a public event. Ganesh Chaturthi was a way to build national spirit and show the unity of Hindu society.
Tilak saw the festival as a way to promote community participation and involvement of people from all the castes together.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for ten days as the birthday of lord Ganesha, the most loved and cherished god. The story of Ganesh Chaturthi is related to the ancient period; despite the modernisation and transformation in lifestyle and cultural preferences, Ganesh Chaturthi has retained its traditional glory. It makes the environment calm where humanity and divinity meet to provide happiness and promote social as well as cultural integrity.