Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as
Vinayak Chaturthi, is a Hindu Festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Ganesh.
The festival is celebrated during the Hindu month of Bhadra (extending from August
to September in the Gregorian calendar). Celebrations during this festival last
for ten days and the last day is termed as Ananta Chaturdasi. This year the
festival will be celebrated on the 1st of September.
The celebrations begin when idols of
Lord Ganesh are installed on raised platforms in homes and offices, or in special
outdoor tents in full public view. The idol sizes may vary from a quarter of an
inch to nearly 25 feet. These idols are mainly made of clay and Plaster of
Paris. Idols made with the latter can cause serious damage to the environment
due to the insoluble chemicals present in the paint.
On the first day, the priest performs
a ritual called Pranapratishhtha, which literally signifies an act of invoking
life into the idol. After this the priest will follow it with the Shhodashopachara,
which are 16 ways of offering tribute to the God.
According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Ganesh
is believed to love food; so devotees offer coconuts, jaggery and modakas to
the lord. The idol is anointed with red chandan-kumkum powder, and the sanctity
of the ritual is maintained by the continuous recital of Ganesh stotra from
Naradha Purana, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha
Spots of Celebration
At the Siddhivinayak temple located in the
central suburbs of Mumbai, special pujas are performed during these days.
Devotees from all over the city throng the temple to offer their obeisance to
- This festival is celebrated with pomp
in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- In various parts of the country, the day before Ganesh Chaturthi (depending upon the Hindu calender) is dedicated for Gowri Puja. On this day, married women offer their prayers to
Goddess Parvati, mother of Lord Ganesh, to pray for the longevity of their
On the last day, all the Ganesh idols
are carried in a procession accompanied with songs and dance, to be immersed in
the sea or any water body. Environmental concerns over immersing the idols of
Lord Ganesh in the sea have been growing over the years, mainly because of the
impact that the chemical paints used in these idols have on natural water
The plaster of Paris used to make such
idols and the chemical paints pollute and increase the acid content in the water.
This impact on the environment can be significantly reduced by using clay idols
or by depositing the idols in common water tanks that are constructed by the
government for this purpose.
With the right mix of fun, food and
eco friendly festivities, witnessing Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations can be a