The holy festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is also recalled as 'Vinayaka Chavithi' or 'Vinayak Chaturthi'. It is the festival tha is celebrated not only in the state of Maharshtra but by the Hindus across India as the Birthday of Lord Ganesha. This great Ganesha festival is observed in the hindu month of Bhadra that falls in mid-August to mid-September. This auspicious and cheerful 10 days festival is basically celebrated by the Maharashtrians and ends on the 10th day which is known as 'Ananta Chaturdashi'.10 Days of Grand Celebration
With the thought of Ganesha Chaturthi festival celebration, a picture of life-like clay model of Lord Ganesha strikes the mind. Such huge Ganesha idols are made 2-3 months prior to this Ganesha festival. People order for huge Ganesha idols and worship it with devotion. The size of the idol varies from needs and preferences of person to person.
On the day of festival celebration, lord Ganesha’s idol is carefully placed in homes on a raised platform or at place with elaborated decorations done at outdoors tents for people to have a sight and also pay their homage to the lord. The priest clad in red silk dhoti and shawl usually and then performs the ritual of 'pranapratishhtha' for invoking life into the idol by chanting mantras. Then is the ritual of 'shhodashopachara' which is 16 ways of paying tribute to God is followed.
People worship the idol of Ganesha and offer 21 coconut and jaggery made modaks as well as 21 durva (trefoil) blades and red flowers to god. Also the idol of lord Ganesha is anointed with sandal paste or red unguent which is also called as rakta chandan. Also throughout the ceremony, vedic hymns of Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad and Rig Veda as well as Ganesha stotra of Narada Purana are chanted by the devotees or worshippers.
For complete 10 days, lord Ganesha is worshipped that is from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi. Further on the 11th day the idol of lord Ganesha is taken through the streets by an accompanied procession of people singing, cheering "Ganapathi Bappa Morya… Purchya Varshi Laukariya" (O father Ganesha, come again early next year) and dancing. This procession is done to immerse the idol of Ganesha in a holy river or sea to symbolize the ritual of bidding good bye to lord Ganesha for his journey towards his abode in Kailash by taking all misfortunes of his devotees with him. Soon after the final offering of coconuts, flowers as well as aarti with camphor is done the idol of lord is immersed in water by the worshippers.
The beautifully decorated tents of Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi also serves as a camp or venue for charity for poor or needy people, blood donation camps, free medical checkup, devotional songs, dramatic or dance performances and much more.
So let this year let blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! Ganpati Bappa Morya…!!!