GANESH CHATURTHI is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (Re-birth) of Lord Ganesha - the Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a magnificent festival, honoring the birth of Lord Ganesha. According to Hindu calendar, Ganesh Chaturthi is observed in the month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (4th day of the waxing moon). The date usually falls between 19th August to 20th September.
This year, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on Thursday, 13th of September 2018. The festival lasts for 10 or 12 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi. A life-like clay model of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. They are beautifully decorated and are portrayed in various poses. The size of these statues may vary from few inches to over several feet.
On the day of the festival, idol is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents (Pandals) for people to view and pay their tribute to Lord Ganesha. The priest, usually attired in red silk dhoti and shawl, invokes life into the idol by chanting the mantras. This ritual is called 'Pran-Pratishtha'. After this, the 'Shhodashopachara' (16 ways of paying tribute) follows in which Coconut, Jaggery, 21 'modakas', 21 'durva' blades and red flowers are offered. The main sweet dish during the festival is the Modak. Another popular sweet made during this festival is Karanji. Both the sweets are cooked by similar recipe with same tastes and ingredients but they differ by their shapes. It is believed that Lord Ganesha is fond of these sweets. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is considered as "Vighna Harta" (one who removes obstacles) and "Buddhi Pradaayaka" (one who grants intelligence). This festival is very important for students; they worship Lord Ganesha to illumine their minds.
Ganesh Visarjan :
Ganesha is worshipped for 10 days from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi. On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing and fanfare, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord Ganesha in his journey towards his abode in Kailash. At individual homes, the Visarjan is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya". After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the river to immerse it. People thank Ganesha for visiting their home. They thank him for bringing Prosperity and Auspiciousness and for taking away all their difficulties with him.