Ganesh Chaturthi or “Vinayak Chaturthi” is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Ganesh (Ganesha), the god of wisdom and prosperity on the fourth day of the moons bright fortnight, or the period from new moon in the lunar month of Bhadrapada. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi continues for five, seven, or ten days. Some even stretch it to twenty-one days, but then the most popularly celebrated. In the tradition of the right-hand path, the first day is the most important. In the left-hand path tradition, the final day is most important.
Ganesha is the god of wisdom and prosperity and is invoked before the beginning of any auspicious work by the Hindus. It is believed that for the fulfillment of one’s desires, his blessing is absolutely necessary. According to the mythology, he is the son of Shiva and Parvati, brother of Kartikeya – the general of the gods, Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and Saraswati-the goddess of learning. There are numerous stories in Hindu mythology, associated with the birth of this elephant-headed god, whose vehicle is the Mooshak or rat and who loves Modaks (droplet shaped Indian sweet).
Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.
The devotees of Ganesha are known as ‘Ganapatyas’, and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival, also known as ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
This year it falls on the Monday, September 2 and the grandest and most elaborate of them, especially in the western India state of Maharashtra, lasts for 10 days, ending on the day of ‘Ananta Chaturdashi‘.
The Grand Celebration
A life-like clay model of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi.
On the day of the festival, it is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents for people to view and pay their homage.
For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea.
People chant “Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” (O father Ganesha, come again early next year) during the procession.
Ganesh Aarti, Shree Ganesh Aarti, Shri Ganesh Aarti
Here is the aarti for God Ganesha:
JAI GANESHA JAI GANESHA JAI GANESHA DEVAA
MAATAA JAAKII PAARVATII, PITAA MAHAADEVAA
EKA DANTA DAYAAVANTA, CAARA BHUJAA DHAARII
MAATHE SINDUURA SOHAI, MUUSE KII SAVAARI
Salutation to you, O Lord Ganesha, born of Parvati, the daughter of the Mountain King, Himalayan, and the great Lord Shiva. O Lord of compassion, you have a single tusk, four arms, a bright mark of vermilion on your forehead and for conveyance the mouse. Glory, glory, all glory…..
ANDHANA KO AANKHA DETA
KORHINA KO KAAYAA
BAANJHANA KO PUTRA DETA
NIRDHANA KO MAAYAA
You bestow vision on the blind, chastened bodies on the leprous, sons of barren women and wealth on the impecunious. Glory, glory, all glory…
PAANA CARHE, PHUULA CARHE
AURA CARHE MEVAA
LADDUANA KO BHOGA LAGE
SAMITA KAREN SEVAA
People offer you betel leaves, blossoms, dry fruits and laddus, while throngs of saints and seers attend on you. Glory, glory, all glory…