Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi 2016 Date

Monday 5 September 2016

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi (गणेश चतुर्थी) is the birth festival of the Elephant God of Hindus known by numerous names, most famous ones being Ganesha, Vinayaka, and Ganapati. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is said that on the day of Ganesh chaturthi, Lord Vinayaka bestows his presence on the earth for blessing all his devotees. Although Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular festivals of India, it is celebrated with extra zeal in Maharashtra. Celebration of Ganesh Chatirthi in Mumbai and Pune are famous all around the world. This festival of Ganpati is also celebrated widely in Goa (Vinayak Chavithi) and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu, it is known as Vinayagar festival.

When is Ganesha Chaturthi Celebrated?

Lord Ganesha VinayakaGanesha Chaturthi is celebrated on the 4th day (Chaturthi) of the bright half of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August-September). In fact, Ganesh Chaturthi marks the beginning of 10 days long Ganesh Chaturthi Pooja (worship) which ends on the day of ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’ (the 14th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada month).

Ganesha Chaturthi 2016 Date

  • Ganesha chaturthi in 2016 will be celebrated on 5 September 2016.
  • Anant Chaturdashi in 2016 falls on 15 September 2016.

What is Ganesh Chaturthi Festival?

For those who are new to the concept of Vinayaka Chaturthi festival, here are some basic facts about Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

  • Ganesha Chaturthi is the birth festival of Lord Ganesha. The Ganesh Birth Story tells about the great qualities of Lord Ganapati – the qualities of the God that are remembered by celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi.
  • This festival is celebrated all over India but more prominantly in Maharashtra and the southern states of India. Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra, in fact, is the biggest festival there.
  • People bring home Ganesh murti (Ganesh statues) and worship their Lord in special ways for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days as per their family traditions. They think of creative decoration ideas for Ganesh Chaturthi at home and celebrate their Lord’s birthday in the most grand manner.
  • On the eleventh day, ‘Ganesh Visarjan’ is carried out in most elaborate way by taking the Ganesha statues in huge processions and immersed in water sources representing farewell to Lord Ganesha.
  • In many regions like in Mumbai and Pune, Ganesh festival is celebrated by local communities collectively along with household worship of specially invoked Ganesh statues.

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations

Long before the arrival of Ganesh Chaturthi festival, skillful artists make simple as well as artistic Ganesh idols in different poses with such medium as clay, metal, plaster of Paris etc. The sizes of Ganesh statues vary from less than an inch to many feet high (this can be 6 to 20 to any number of feet high Ganesha idols).

Lord Ganesha Statue

Ganesh Chaturthi begins with installation of these Ganesh statues in beautifully decorated homes, and temporary mandaps (pandals) in every locality, specially in cities like Mumbai and Pune. For community celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, money is collected by special committes formed by residents of the locality. Ganesh pandals are artistically decorated with flower garlands, lights, and other decorative items. Sometimes these decorations are base on themes- religious or current events.

After installation of Ganesh Statue in Pandals, the priest, usually wearing red or white dhoti and shawl performs a ritual to invoke life into the statue by chanting special Ganesh mantras which is called ‘Pranapratishhtha’. This is followed by another ritual ‘Shhodashopachara’ meaning sixteen ways of paying tribute to the Lord Vinayaka. Special dishes and sweets including coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered to God Ganesha. The statue is anointed with red paste made of kumkum and sandalwood paste. Ganesha Pooja is performed by reciting hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharvashirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana.

Of late, people have become more aware about the pollution created by the non-biodegradable materials used for making Ganesha idols as well as those used for decorations. Now people take sincere efforts to celebrate eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi.

Ganesh Visarjan

As mentioned earlier, Ganesha Chaturthi is not a one day affair but the Lord Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi till the Ananta Chaturdashi. On the 11th day, the statue of Ganesha is taken through the streets in a procession for Ganesh Visarjan (गणेश विसर्जन). People accompany their Lord with dancing and singing.

Ganesh Visarjan

The Marathi people loudly say many slogans, the famous one being “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar yaa” meaning ‘O Ganpati My Lord, return soon next year’. The procession ends with the immersion of Ganesh statues in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual farewell to the Lord. Ganesh Visarjan is a marathi term which is known as Ganesha Visarjane in Kannada, and Vinayaka Nimarjana or Vinayaka Nimajjanam in Telugu.

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