09-11-2018 03:50 PM - edited 09-12-2018 01:24 PM
Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day Hindu festival celebrated to honour beloved Hindu elephant-headed God Ganesha's birthday, popularly worshiped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. He is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Good luck, good fortune, wealth and prosperity
May you blessed with all these and more
This Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesha is known by 108 different names and is the Lord of arts and sciences and the deva of wisdom. He is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies as he's considered the God of beginnings. He's widely and dearly referred to as Ganapati or Vinayaka.
[There are two different versions about Ganesha's birth. One has it that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of dirt off her body while having a bath and set him to guard her door while she finishes her bath. Shiva who has gone out, returned at that time, but as Ganesha didn't know of him, stopped him from entering. An angry Shiva severed the head of Ganesha after a combat between the two. Parvati was enraged and Shiva promised Ganesha will live again. The devas who went in search of a head facing north of a dead person could manage only the head of an elephant. Shiva fixed the elephant's head on the child and brought him back to life.]
It is usually celebrated in Late August or early September, depending on the cycle of the moon. It falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. In 2018, Ganesh Chaturthi is on September 13. It is celebrated for 11 days (ending on September 23), with the biggest spectacle taking place on the last day called Anant Chaturdasi day.
Mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. One of the best places to experience the festival is in the city of Mumbai. Celebrations take place in a special way at the towering Siddhivinayak temple, located in the central suburb of Prabhadevi, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. An incalculable number of devotees visit the temple to join in prayers and pay their respects to the God during the festival. In addition, around 10,000 statues of Lord Ganesh are displayed at various locations in the Mumbai city.
Lord Ganesha is also worshiped in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Nepal and China.
How is it Celebrated? - The festival begins with the installation of huge elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated. Artisans put months of effort into making the statues. It's forbidden to look at the moon on this first night as legend had it the moon laughed at Lord Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, the rat. On Ananta Chaturdasi (the last day), the statues are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then immersed in the ocean or other bodies of water.
In Mumbai alone, more than 150,000 statues are immersed each year!
Those who have a Ganesha statue in their house treat and care for him as a much loved guest.
Foodies wait for Modak, a sweet dish prepared using rice or flour stuffed with grated jaggery, coconuts and dry fruits. The plate containing the Modak is supposed to be filled with twenty-one pieces of the sweet.
The festival is celebrated in a very public manner. Local communities compete with each other to put up the biggest and best Ganesha statue and display. Expect very crowded streets, filled with boisterous devotees, and lots of music.
There are four main rituals during the festival –
>Pranapratishhtha - the process of infusing the deity into a murti or idol, (Once a statue of Lord Ganesh is installed, a ceremony is undertaken to invoke his holy presence into the statue, during which a number of mantras are recited)
>Shhodashopachara - 16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha (Offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut, jaggery and coins are made to the God. The statue is also anointed with red chandan powder. Prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha every day during the festival. )
>Uttarpuja - Puja after which the idol could be shifted after it's infusion,
>Ganpati Visarjan - immersion of the Idol in the river/sea/pond.
(You might have be wondering that Why are the Ganesh Statues Immersed in Water at the End of the Festival. Well, We Hindus worship idols, or statues, of their gods because it gives us a visible form to pray to. We also recognize that the universe is in a constant state of change. Form eventually gives away to formlessness. However, the energy still remains. The immersion of the statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and subsequent destruction of them serves as a reminder of this belief.) How to Experience Mumbai's Epic Ganesh Festival
Lalbaugcha Raja pandal - It is most famous ganpati pandal. Thousands of people visit here from all corner of the nation to get the blessings of Ganpati Bappa
Here is the glimpse of last year immersion.
Mumbai's Ganesh Chaturthi festival is the biggest celebration in the city. If you want to experience in Indian festival on a grand scale, this is it! It's a massive street party with a special spiritual meaning.
visarjan (immersion) video
How did the festival become so popular in Mumbai though?
The festival was celebrated as a public event to promote culture and nationalism since the time of Maratha King Shivaji, but a Sarvajanik (Public) Ganesh idol was installed first by Bhausaheb Laxman Javale.
However, in 1893 the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak transformed it from a private celebration to a grand public event "to bridge the gap between Brahmins and non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them". His reasons for doing so were to bridge the gap between the castes, and build unity against British colonial rule. Lord Ganesh, as the much loved remover of obstacles and god for everybody, served this purpose. The tradition has carried on, and nowadays there's great competition among local communities to put on the biggest and best displays of statues of Lord Ganesh.
The festival ends with the parading and immersion of the statues into a body of water, usually the ocean in Mumbai.
Girgaum, known as the heart of old Mumbai, is a must-visit place during the festival (and especially on the last day of immersions).
Unfortunately, most Ganesh idols are not eco-friendly. They're made from Plaster of Paris and instead of naturally dissolving in the ocean, their broken parks often wash ashore. we should also think about this.
"Ganpati Bappa Moriya, Pudcha varshi loukar ya" - Hail Lord Ganpati, come soon again next year.