Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India SCFI
Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi on 12th September 2018

Ganesh Chaturthi Traditions and Customs

Ganesh Chaturthi is among the most pompously celebrated festivals in India. This festival celebrates the re birth of Lord Ganesha. Ganesh Chaturthi traditions and customs are observed not only in India but also in countries like United States, Mauritius, Nepal, China etc. Among all the states in India, Maharashtra witnesses the most grandeur celebration of this festival with songs, dances, bursting of crackers and so on. The fervour and pulse of this festival is also witnessed by the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa. Various rituals, customs and traditions are observed during this festival.

The Traditions and Customs of Ganesh Chaturthi:
  • Ganesh Chaturthi traditions and customs are observed for a period of ten days beginning on the fourth day (Shukla Chaturthi) and ending on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon period. (Anant Chaturdashi) in the month of Bhadrapada. Months before the festival, preparations begin with lighting arrangements to illuminate the city, skilled artisans create clay idols and artists erect awestruck pandals.
  • On the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees take a ritual bath and wear new garments, before engaging themselves in the worship of the deity.
  • After stationing of the idol on a pedestal, it is decorated with flower garlands and sandalwood paste and kalash containing rice or holy water is placed at the foot of the deity. This is called Purna Kambha.Prayers are performed by the priest to infuse the idol with life. This is known as Pranaprathisthha. Chanting of slokas and mantras accompanies this procedure.
  • After this, Shodashopachara or a method of offering prayer by sixteen ways follows.
  • Arti is performed and 108 names of the lord is chanted along with slokas and mantras.
  • Modak, Sabudana laddoo, Pedha, Badam laddoo, Karanji, Puran Poli, Patholi are some of the festival food. Modak is a rice parcel stuffed with desiccated coconut, jaggery and dry fruits and is a delicacy of this festival.
Shodashopachara or the Sixteen Fold Prayer

This prayer method involves the following:

  • Aavaahana, or in other words, invite.
  • Aasana means offering a seat to the guest.
  • Paadya means to clean the feet of the idol.
  • Arghya or in other words, washing the hands of the idol
  • Aachamana is drinking only three gulps of water to enhance speech delivery.
  • Madhuparka means offering a drink to the idol.
  • Snaana means washing idol with ghee, milk and curd.
  • Vastra or Upaveeta is giving new attires to the idol.
  • Gandha isapplying sandalwood on the forehead of the lord.
  • Pushpa or offering of flowers.
  • Dhoopa is the fragrance from burning herbs.
  • Deepa means admitting lord as divine light.
  • Naivedya is offering varied dishes.
  • Taamblooa is having betel leaf with herbs for good health.
  • Aarati is an earthen lamp circulated around the deity.
  • Mantrapushpa is going around the deity and chanting mantras.

Thus, Ganesh Chaturthi traditions and customs are observed strictly nation-wide. The core essence of these customs is the same throughout, with slight differences in the other states of India. The slight variations are due to diverse cultures.

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