What is Ganesh Chaturthi & why is it celebrated?
Ganesh Chauturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi is one of the most auspicious festivals of Hinduism, celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of Bhadrapada month (between August-September). Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10 day festival marking the birth anniversary of Lord Ganpati. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion where devotees bring Lord Ganesha's idols at home and offer prayers to the Lord. This festival is most popularly celebrated in Maharashtra, Gujarat & Karnataka.
History Of Ganesh Chaturthi
As per historical records, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi was started by Shri Chhatarpati Shivaji Maharaj in the 16th century as Lord Ganpati was the kuldevta of Peshwas. After the fall of Peshwas, this festival was confined to individual households. In 1893, freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak reintroduced this festival by bringing household Ganpati celebrations to the streets of Bombay & Pune. The large scale festive celebrations provoked a feeling of patriotism among the masses and reunited all the people against the britishers who were not in favour of such mass gatherings.
Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations
Ganeshotsav celebrations begins couple of months in advance as artisans start making the idols of Lord Ganesha. On the first day of Chaturthi, people bring the idol of Ganpati at their home and install it in the place of worship. Devotees decorate their houses with flowers & rangoli and wear new clothes before the commencement of ceremony. After prayers, all the members of the family offer fresh fruits, modak and sing the glory of God. After 10 days, Ganesha's idol is taken to a waterbody for immersion (Visarjan). Devotees immerse the idol of Ganpati requesting him to go back to his abode and return back early next year (Agle baras tu jaldi aa). It is beleived that lord Ganesha takes away all the obstacles of his devotees with him.
Why is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated for 10 days ?
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days as it is believed that Lord Ganesha graces the Earth during this period. Lord Ganpati removes all the obstacles faced by his devotees and blesses them with good fortune, prosperity & wisdom. God Ganesha is also known as Vighanharta as he is the remover of obstacles.
How do I decorate Ganpati at home easily ?
Best way to decorate Ganpati mandap at home is with fresh flowers, earthen lamps (diya), insence sticks & candles. You can decorate the background of Lord Ganesha's idol with strings of fresh flowers. Offer fresh fruits, coconut and homemade prasad like modak & ladoos.
What sweets are offered to Lord Ganesh ?
Homemade Modak & ladoo are Lord Ganesha's favourite sweets and are served as prasad or naivaideya during the celebrations. Some more sweets that you can offer to Lord Ganpati are Puranpoli, Basundi, Kheer, Rabri, Halwa & Shrikhand.