Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, Ganesh Chautha, Ganapati festival or Ganeshotsav is a colourful festival. This is one of the most sacred Hindu festivals will be celebrated on Friday, August 25, 2017, this year. Lord Ganesh will be staying with us for full eleven days, the festival ends on September 5 on Anant Chaturdashi. Puja rituals will be performed daily on all the eleven days. This festival is celebrated on fourth day of the waxing moon, i.e. Shukla Paksha Chaturthi in the lunar month Bhadrapada, in August or September, falls once in a year.
This festival is observed to commemorate the birthday of Lord Ganesha or Ganapati, the God of Wisdom, prosperity, fortune and the most loved and adored God of the masses, brings together the people of all the religions. The elephant-headed Lord Ganesha is considered as the remover of all the obstacles known as Vighnaharta, is always worshipped first and remembered before starting any auspicious event or venture.
It is a ten day festival, celebrated in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat as public celebration but in Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala and other parts of the India as private celebration by the people of India, Nepal and other parts of the world with great enthusiasm.
Ganesha Puja in four steps:
Pandal or a temporary stage is prepared and decorated with flowers and lights, where Pujari (priest) performs Puja in four steps during Ganesh Puja.
The first step is Pran-Pratishtha starts with invoking Lord Ganesha at Madhyahna Kal, by the devotees standing in Avahan Mudra (joining both palms together)chanting Mantra from Ganesh Upnishada or hymns from Rigveda and other ancient texts in front of God Ganesha, taking Sankalp , performing Puja and Tilak with five betels and five betels-nut, kumkum ,haldi, chandan, Vastra, flowers, garland and Bhog with Modak and other sweets along with keeping fast (Vrat).
The second step is Ganapati- Sthapana( installing Ganesha) in the auspicious Labh Muhurata and Amrita Chaughadia. The Puja starts with bringing of the idol of Lord Ganesha and installing on stage or performing Ganesha-Sthapana (Avahana) on decorated Pandal (stage) or at home.
The next is Shodoshopachara Puja, before starting this Puja people should keep fast, do Deep Prajawalan (Lighting Deepak) perform rituals with prayers and chant Vedic hymns from Rigveda and other Hindu texts to please Lord Ganesha, perform Puja with flowers, garland, Haldi, Durva grass, Jala, Prasad offerings. Aarti is done with Dhup, camphor and lighted Deepak. Prasad in form of fruits, dry fruits, Gur, coconut and other sweets including Laddu and Modak (made of rice floor, Gur and coconut in a particular shape) is distributed daily among the devotees present at the time of Puja.
In fourth step Uttar Puja is done, wherein the idol of Lord Ganesha is shifted to another place.
One can see feasting and enjoying in large groups of people everywhere, martial art competition is also held for youth and children.
Time for Puja and other rituals
Maddhyahna- Kal is preferred for starting Ganesh Puja rituals as Lord Ganesha was born during Madhyahna- kal.
Afternoon time (Maddhyahna Kaal ) for Puja :Amrit time for Madhyahna Ganesha Puja starts during the day at 11:06 AM to 01:39 PM IST and 02:14 PM to 03:48 PM IST.
Chaturthi Tithi Begins at 08:27 PM on 24th August 2017, Chaturthi Tithi Ends at 08:31 PM on 25th August 2017.
On Ganesha Chaturthi moon sighting is prohibited
To avoid false accusations of stealing something (Mithya kalanka or Dosha) avoid moon sighting on Ganesh Chaturthi.
Time for avoiding moon sighting:
On 24th August, 2017: 08:27 PM to 08:43 PM (IST).
Duration: 0 Hours 16 Minutes.
On 25th, August 2017 avoid moon sighting.
The Ganeshotsava ends after ten or eleven days on Anant Chaturdashi( Anant Chausdas) on Ganesh Visarjan day, the idol of Ganapati Bappa is carried in a grand public procession through the roads and streets in different groups of rich and poor with music and chanting along with requesting to come back early, next year(‘Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya varshi Lavker ya’ in Maharashtra) then the idol is immersed into the water of lake river or ocean, assuming that Lord Ganesha has returned to home, Mount Kailasha to meet parents Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.
It is believed that Ganeshotsava was celebrated for the first time as a social and public celebration by the appeal from Shivaji to Maratha people after the Mughal-Maratha wars. It started again in the 19th century after public appeal by Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak against the British government’s ban on Hindu gatherings during British regime.