Ganesh Puja has a great significance in Indian culture, before starting anything new, we always pray to Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is said to grant wishes and bring positivity to the lives of the devotees. Ganesh Puja is commonly known as Ganesh Chaturthi.
In the year 2020, Ganesh Puja will be celebrated on 22nd August which is a Sunday. Its celebration is spread over 10 days in the Bhadra month as per the Hindu calendar. This usually occurs in mid – August or September.
Ganesh Puja is the celebration of Lord Ganesha’s birth. This beloved elephant-headed god is called the god of wealth, knowledge, prosperity, sciences and wisdom which is the reason behind performing it before anything new begins.
Lord Ganesha is addressed by devotees in 108 different names like Vinayaka; Vighnaharta which means one of them takes away all the pains and sufferings. This festival is celebrated with tons of zeal and thrill all over India, but it’s the most prominent in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana.
According to Hindu folklore, there are many stories associated with the birth of Lord Ganesha. One of them says that Maa Parvati created Lord Ganesha using the grime from her body so that he would protect her in the absence of Lord Shiva. One day when she was using the bathroom, Ganesha was guarding the door, that’s when Lord Shiva arrives, not knowing about Ganesha he severed his head. Maa Parvati was angered and made Lord Shiva promise that he would get Ganesha back to life. But in spite of searching for a human baby head everywhere, he couldn’t find one. Finally, he came across an elephant head and fixed that on Ganesha’s body.
Another story states that all the Devas pleaded Lord Shiva and Parvati to create someone who would cause troubles for the evil and protect Devas from any trouble. So they created Ganesha. This is the reason why it’s believed that Lord Ganesha grants the wishes of his followers.
Ganesh puja has been celebrated for ages; Lord Shiva was a dedicated follower of Lord Ganesha. It consists of 4 main rituals to be followed:
· The first ritual is the Pranapratishhtha in which the pundits recite the mantra to bring life into the idol of Lord Ganesha. the idol is decorated with all kinds of flowers, ornaments, and lights. The festivities begin a week before the Puja starts.
· Shhodashopachara is the ritual of offering prayers to the deity in 16 different ways. Devotes enjoy themselves by singing songs, dancing and lighting up fireworks.
· After this, Uttarpuja is performed which is the ritual of bidding farewell to Lord Ganesha. People give their goodbyes to Ganesha with teary eyes. People get really invested in Ganesh Puja.
· Lastly is the Ganesh Visarjan, where the idol of the lord is submerged on water. When people carry the statue to the river they chant,” Ganpati Bappa Morya Purchya Varshi Laukariya” which basically means, “Goodbye Lord, please come back next year”
Devotees dress up in new clothes and get together to celebrate Ganesh Puja with joy and enthusiasm. They get on the roads and dance to the beats of drums, put color on one another and rejoice. They offer Prasad to the lord which usually consists of Ganesha’s favorites like modak, pooran poli, and karanji.
People bring an idol of Ganesha at home and adorn it with flowers, ornaments, and lights. They prepare delicacies and the entire family gets together. There are even Ganesh Puja parties where friends and family members come together and enjoy themselves to the fullest.
People also like visiting the various pandals made for Ganesh Puja. They present their desires and Prasad. The advantages of fasting at Chaturthi include a good career trajectory, contentment, and opulence. Lord Krishna had explained to Yudhishtira the significance of Chaturthi vrat. The Narasimha Purana and Bhavishya Purana also mention this.
This eliminates the barrier and generates win-win conditions. It brings knowledge, richness and desire fulfillment. It also minimizes the malevolent impact the planet Mercury creates. Adore Lord Ganesha on Chaturthi brings powerful benefits. Chanting the "Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha" mantra succeeds in satisfying all wishes.
The early rise is recommended in the morning of Sankashti Chaturthi. The spectator takes a sacred bath, singing Ganesha’s names when soaking. The Ganesh Altar must be prepared after this, and appeals must be presented. After witnessing the moon and praying to Lord Ganesha the fast is broken in the evening.
The Calendar specifies the date of the moon rising. Those who have difficulty witnessing the moonrise will take note of this moment, and brace for the vrat's end. But it is said to be particularly auspicious to see the moon visually towards the close of the vrat. The devotee will prepare the altar after the moon rises and put up a picture of Lord Ganesha, pray to the lord and break the fast with Prasad.
However, with the increasing awareness about the environment, people have switched to eco-friendly ways of celebrating Ganesh Puja likes using an idol made of clay and using organic colors.