Ganesh Chaturthi – The Most Famous Festival of India

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Written By Santana

Unveiling India's Treasures from the eyes of an insightful author


1. Let’s understand the Festivals in India

India observes various religious festivals and holidays as a country with diverse religions, cultures, and ethnicities. India’s three national holidays—Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti, and Republic Day—are widely observed and joyfully celebrated all across the nation. As a result of the predominant linguistic and religious demography, several Indian states and areas also have their respective indigenous festivals.

The Hindu holidays of Navaratri, Diwali, Holi, Janamashtami, Maha Shivaratri, Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Rath Yatra, Vasant Panchami, Ugadi, Dussehra, and Rakshabandhan are among the most well-known religious celebrations.

The Islamic festivals of Eid al-Fitr, Muharram, Eid al-Adha (Bakri Eid), Shab-e-Barat, and Milad-un-Nabi are celebrated with the utmost zeal and are recognized as public holidays. Some regions of the country also celebrate Jumu’ah-tul-Wida, Arba’een, and Shab-e-Qadar.

Christmas and Good Friday are the most enthusiastically celebrated Christian festivities nationwide.

Makar Sankranti, Chapchar Kut, Sohrai, Onam, Pusna, Hornbill, Raja Sankranti Swinging Festival, and Pongal are among the widely celebrated harvest festivals.

Although belonging to specific cultures, some festivals, such as Diwali, Christmas, and Eid, are celebrated by the country’s people. In addition, the government offers equitable access to various services for the observance of religious holidays, road reservations, security, and other services.

Mizoram’s Chapchar Kut Cheraw dance is a renowned dance festival. After finishing the most challenging part of the Jhum operation of clearing the jungle, the Chapchar Kut celebration is held in March (clearing of the left-overs of burning).

The event of the New Year in India is observed in many regions of India at various times of the year and in multiple ways. The New Year’s celebrations include Ugadi, Gudhi Padwa, Bihu, Pohela Boishakh, Puthandu, Vaisakhi, Vishuva Sankranti, and Vishu.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu celebration honoring Lord Ganesh’s descent from the Parvat of Kailash with his mother, Goddess Parvati. It is also recognized as Vinayaka Chaivithi or Vinayaka Chaturthi. In 1893, Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak, also renowned as Lokmanya Tilak, commemorated the occasion by placing clay statues of Lord Ganesha there both publicly and privately in Pune. Vedic chants and Hindu scriptures or prayers are chanted during the celebrations. People also observe Vrat or fasting.

Modaka (a form of sweet), considered Lord Ganesha’s favorite, is served as an offering, or Prasada. The Prasada is generally served by the pandals/temples to the community’s people after the puja rituals are performed.

The festival comes to an end on the tenth day of celebration. The idol is drowned in a neighboring water body. This ceremony is widely known as Visarjan. After the clay statue is dissolved in water, it is assumed that Ganesha will return to Mount Kailash to join his parents, Shiva and Mata Parvati.

2. The mythology behind Ganesh Chaturthi celebration

According to Indian mythology, Lord Ganesha is considered to be the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. In the absence of Shiva, Goddess Parvati created baby Lord Ganesh out of sandalwood paste and asked him to guard the entrance while she bathed. When Lord Shiva arrived at the door and informed Ganesh that he wanted to see Goddess Parvati, Ganesh, as per his mother’s orders, refused to let him in. Lord Shiva became outraged and cut the child’s head off. When Parvati discovered what had happened, she was horrified.

She appeared as the goddess Kali and vowed to end the universe. Everyone was concerned about this and prayed to Lord Shiva to discover a solution and subdue Goddess Kali’s fury. Shiva immediately commanded all his followers to run off and seek a youngster whose parents were neglectfully turning their back on their child and bring his head.

He directed his men to seek the heads of the first living creatures they came across. They could only locate the head of a baby elephant. That is how Lord Ganesha was resurrected with the head of an elephant.

They cut off his head and presented it to Lord Shiva as instructed. Lord Shiva revived Ganesha’s body by placing the head on it right away. Maa Kali’s fury subsided, and Goddess Parvati became calm and overwhelmed. All the Lords gave their blessings to baby Ganesha, and the occasion is still honored for the exact reason.

According to another tale, Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati at the request of the Devas to be a Vighnaharta (obstacle-creator) in the way of rakshasas (demonic entities) and a Vighnaharta (obstacle-averter) to assist the Devas.


3. The Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi celebration

Ganesha is the Hindu God of abundance, wealth, knowledge, and the sciences.

People who worship him are said to have their wants and ambitions fulfilled.

His worshippers are believed to be cleansed of their sins and are led on the road of wisdom and insight.

There are 108 other names for Lord Ganesh, including Vighnaharta, Vinayaka, and Gajanana. Before commencing any serious task, most Hindus remember him and seek his grace.

Lord Ganesha is the source of superior intelligence, which enables individual liberation. He offers liberating powers known as Mukti, Siddhi or divine powers, and intellectual powers known as Buddhi. Other names for Ganesha are Buddhi Vinayaka and Siddhi Vinayaka. These are the abilities that he has deeply ingrained.

It takes intelligence and insight to reach siddhi. The significance of the Ganesh Chaturthi, like any other Indian festival, can only be grasped by paying great attention to its traditions and activities. The celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi aid in our inner transformation. We learn that life constantly serves a greater purpose.

4. The origin of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival

Even though it is not known when (or how) Ganesh Chaturthi was first observed, it has been celebrated publicly in Pune since the reign of King Shivaji (1630–1680), founder of the Maratha Empire. The Peshwa was Ganesha worshippers in the 18th century and began a public Ganesha festival in their capital city of Pune during the month of Bhadrapada.

The Ganesha festival lost state backing once the British Raj started. It became a private family celebration in Maharashtra until it was revived by the Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak.

Others, including Kaur, believe that the festival became a public event in 1892 when Bhausaheb Laxman Javale (also known as Bhau Rangari) placed Pune’s first sarvajanik (public) Ganesha idol. In his newspaper, Kesari, in 1893, Lokmanya Tilak commended the Sarvajanik Ganesha Utsav celebration and dedicated his efforts to turn the yearly domestic festival into a significant, well-organized public event.

Tilak saw Ganesha’s appeal as “the god for everyone.” Robert Brown chose Ganesha as the deity who bridged “the gap between Brahmins and non-Brahmins,” thereby fostering grassroots unity against British colonial power.

According to other scholars, the British Empire passed a series of ordinances after 1870, fearing seditious assemblies, that prohibited public assembly for social and political purposes of more than 20 people in British India, but exempted religious groups for Friday mosque prayers due to pressure from the Indian Muslim community.

Tilak argued that this effectively prohibited the public assembly of Hindus whose faith did not need daily prayers or weekly masses. He used this religious exemption to organize Ganesh Chaturthi to avoid the British colonial statute prohibiting big public gatherings. He was first to place enormous public images of Ganesh in pavilions around the Bombay Presidency and other celebration events throughout the festival.

The Hindus were not well organized during this time. After the 1893 Hindu-Muslim communal violence in Bombay and the Deccan riots, Richard Cashman felt that the British Indian government under Lord Harris had repeatedly taken sides and had not treated Hindus fairly. Tilak recruited and passionately committed himself to Lord Ganesha.

Tilak was instrumental in turning the Ganesh Chaturthi festival into a major communal event and a covert venue for political agitation, intellectual conversation, poetry recitals, plays, concerts, and folk dances in 1893.

Tilak estimated that in the 18th century, Ganesha worship and processions were already widespread among rural and urban Hindu people across social castes and classes in Baroda, Gwalior, Pune, and most of the Maratha region.

5. Where is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

(Places associated with Ganesh Chaturthi celebration)

Ganesh Chaturthi is observed throughout the Indian subcontinent and in various other countries. In Goa, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as Chavath Parva (“auspicious celebration”) on the third day of the lunar month of Bhadrapada. People also worship Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva, and Lord Ganesha on this day.

The following day, the harvest festival, Navyachi Panchami, is celebrated. Freshly reaped paddy is brought home from the fields (or temples), and the puja rituals are performed. Instruments like ghumots, crash cymbals, and pakhavaj (an Indian barrel-shaped, two-headed drum) are used during the rites. During the celebration, communities that usually consume fish refrain from doing so.

In Karnataka, the Gowri celebration comes before Ganesh Chaturthi, and people across the state send their good wishes to one another. In Andhra Pradesh, clay (Matti Vinayakudu) and turmeric (Siddhi Vinayakudu) statues of Lord Ganesha are widely worshipped at home, along with the ones made of plaster of Paris.

The festival, also called Vinayaka Chaturthi, or Pillayar Chaturthi in Tamil Nadu, comes on the fourth day following the new moon in the month of Bhadrapada in the Tamil calendar. The idols are immersed in the holy Bay of Bengal waters on a Sunday that follows. They are worshipped in pandals for several days. Since the state government has forbidden plaster of Paris idols, the idols are typically fashioned of clay or paper-mache, but infractions of this restriction are frequently reported. Coconuts and other organic materials are also used to make idols.

Ganesh Chaturthi is known as Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra. During the event, families construct little clay figures for adoration. Flowers, durva (strands of fresh grass), Karanji, and modaks are offered to the Murti in the morning and evening (jaggery and coconut flakes wrapped in rice flour dumplings).

Ganesh Festival

The Shri Maharashtra Panchayat, a Maharashtrian organization in Karachi, organizes Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Pakistan.

Ganesh Chaturthi is observed by the British Hindu community in the United Kingdom. The Hindu Culture and Heritage Society, located in Southall, celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi in London for the first time in 2005 at the Vishwa Hindu Temple, with the idol submerged in the River Thames near Putney Pier. Another festival, organized by a Gujarati group, was held in Southend-on-Sea, attracting an estimated 18,000 people. Annual events are also held on Liverpool’s River Mersey.

The Philadelphia Ganesh Festival is one of North America’s most famous Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, and it is also observed in Canada (especially in the Toronto area), Malaysia, Mauritius, and Singapore. The Mauritius Festival dates back to 1896 and is now an official holiday in Mauritius. Because of the substantial Tamil-speaking Hindu minority in Malaysia and Singapore, the festival is more popularly known as Vinayagar Chaturthi.

6. When and how is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated?

(People’s participation in Ganesh Chaturthi)

Arrangements for the Ganesha Chaturthi celebration start approximately a month in advance. The festivities last for about ten days. The celebrations begin on Bhadrapada Shudh Chaturthi and end on Ananta Chaturdashi. Ganesha clay sculptures in various stances and sizes are beginning to be made by artisans. Families often come together to enjoy the occasion. In communities, people set up pandals to commemorate the holiday with family and friends.

Ganesha figurines are placed in exquisitely designed “pandals” at residences, temples, or public places. Additionally, there are lights, garlands, and flowers on the statue. Flowers are used to decorating homes.

Numerous worshippers frequently visit the Ganesha temples, which are also equally decorated. Both poojas and bhajans are conducted.

While some worshippers observe this event at home, others go to communal pandals to worship Lord Ganesha. People pay Ganesha the appropriate attention, prayers, and offerings. For acquaintances, relatives, and guests, meals like the beloved Modak, Poli, Pooran, and Karanji are made.

A priest performs the Pranapratishtha ceremony, invoking life in the deity through mantra chanting. The Lord Ganesha idol is carried through the streets on the last day of the festivities. Many worshipers show their joy and offer prayers throughout the day. People carry the idol on their shoulders or vans, dance, and sing on the roads to show excitement and enthusiasm. Finally, the idol is submerged in a body of water.

The Ganesh Visarjan highlights the temporary nature of every aspect of life and the sequence of creation, existence, and mortality.

7. Major events involved in the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi

First day of celebration

Placing a clay idol of Lord Ganesha in your home is the first step in the Ganesha puja ritual. Different meals are prepared as offerings (bhog). After being bathed in clean water, the idol is adorned with flowers. The aarti starts after the Jyoti is lit. At this moment, several mantras and bhajans are chanted.

The chants are said to give the idol life when they are chanted entirely devotedly. Ganesha is also said to visit his worshippers’ homes around this time, bringing fortune and happiness with him. The day is considered particularly lucky for the same reason. It is believed that if you worship the Ganesha Yantra, your life will be highly successful.

Rituals performed

Four primary rites are carried out throughout the 10-day celebration. The four are Pranapratishtha, Shhodashopachara, Uttarpuja, and Ganpati Visarjan. The idol of Ganesha is then worshipped in 16 different ways. The name of this ceremony is Shhodashopachara. People perform religious music, dance to drumming beats, and set off fireworks to mark the occasion. All of these activities heighten the joyous atmosphere.

The following ritual involves saying a heartfelt goodbye to Ganesha, Uttarpuja. The sculpture is currently submerged in water during the ceremony known as Ganpati Visarjan. People typically chant “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” in Marathi while transporting the statue to the sea and submerging it, which translates to “Goodbye God, please return next year.”

Foods and delicacies of the occasion.

Modak is among the primary foods prepared on this occasion, even though there are many desserts served to Ganesha during the puja because it is considered his favorite. Ladu, barfi, pede, and Karanji are more delicacies served during the puja.

Modak is the main dessert delicacy served during the celebration. Modak is also known as kudumu or modakam in Telugu,modakkam or kozhakatta in Malayalam, kadubu or modaka in Kannada, and modagam or kozhuattai in Tamil. A modak is a rice or wheat flour-based dumpling that is boiled or fried after being filled with jaggery, grated coconut, dried fruits, and other ingredients.

Karanji, which resembles modak in flavor and composition but has a semicircular form, is another well-known sweet delicacy. The Goans refer to this sweet supper as Nevri and associate it with the Ganesha holiday.

In the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Ganesha is offered modaks, laddoos, panakam (a drink made with jaggery, cardamom, and black pepper), vundrallu (slow-cooked spheres of coarsely powdered rice flour),vadapappu (drenched moong beans), and chalividi (a fried rice and sugar syrup concoction). These gifts are referred to as naivedya, and a platter of modak typically contains 21 servings of the confection. Modak and a localized idli dish called sanna are well-liked in Goa.

Panchakajjaya is an offering presented to Ganesha on this occasion in some areas of Karnataka. It contains burnt Bengal gram powder, dehydrated coconut, honey, ghee, and sesame. There are various panchakajjaya variations available. Aval, fried chickpea lentils (putani), fried Bengali lentils, and roasted green grams can all be utilized.

Puja vidhi

The houses are cleaned, and the altars are assembled on the very first day of celebration. For Ganesha, a special podium or seating is set up, and the red fabric is laid on it. After being bathed, the Ganesha statue is placed on the altar.

Following this, modaks (rice balls loaded with sweets) and arka flowers, as well as Durva grass, are presented to the idol. An Aarti is conducted after people chant mantras and hear the tales of Lord Ganesha. After Vinayaka Chaturthi, morning and evening pujas are performed every day. Then, the Visarjan is scheduled. By doing this, the devotee bids the Lord a formal farewell till he visits to bless the houses the following year.


The ancient call known as Avahana, done by joining the hands and repeating the following mantras, marks the beginning of Ganesh Puja.

He Heramba Tvamehyehi Hyambikatryambakatmaja |

Siddhi-Buddhi Pate Tryaksha Lakshalabha Pituh Pitah ||

Nagasyam Nagaharam Tvam Ganarajam Chaturbhujam |

Bhushitam Svayudhaudavyaih Pashankushaparashvadhaih ||

Avahayami Pujartham Rakshartham Cha Mam Kritoh |

Ihagatya Grihana Tvam Pujam Yagam Cha Raksha Me ||

Om Siddhi-Buddhi Sahitaya Shri Mahaganadhipataye Namah |

Avahayami-Sthapayami ||

Fasting rules

Several individuals who install an idol of Lord Ganesha in their homes keep fasting to indicate that the Lord is there. They begin fasting early in the morning and keep it up until dusk. Complete fasting is considered lucky, but you are allowed to break it for milk, and the prasad served at the puja. The fasting is over in the evening after Ganesha aarti. This continues into the final day.

Fruits, sabudana khichri, rice, curd, and sweets like ladoo, Rewari, and gajak are also available to worshippers. Non-vegetarian meals and alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be consumed during this period.

8. How Ganesh Chaturthi helps in social causes?

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated uniquely in Bhubaneshwar by integrating social and religious concerns by worshipping trees in the guise of the elephant god. Worshipping trees is an age-old tradition in our country, and this tradition is used as an inspiration behind this celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. The tree is decorated to look like Lord Ganesh with eyes, and a trunk is drawn.

The Bakul foundation was the pioneer behind the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in this manner. The volunteers of the Bakul foundation started this by worshipping a tree in the form of Ganesh inside Biju Patnaik Park.

This practice started in 2018 and is continued even now. Lord Ganesha, with an elephant head and a human body, is a potent emblem of the unification of all creation, such as the animal and human worlds.

Since 2009, the Bakul Foundation has promoted a cultural association with trees, noting that simply planting saplings for the sake of the environment would not help the environment and would result in tokenism.

9. Conclusion

The Ganesh visarjan, also known as the Vinayaka Nimajjanam mythology, has an intriguing mythological backstory. On the final day of the celebration, Lord Ganesha is said to return to his parents, Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, on Kailash Parvat. The observance of Ganesh Chaturthi indicates the importance of the cycle of creation, existence, and mortality.

The God of New Beginnings, Ganesha, is also revered as the One Who Removes Challenges and Barriers from Life. It is considered that when the Ganesha statue is removed from the house for immersion, the house’s different obstructions are removed with it and destroyed at the visarjan. People look forward to Ganesh Chaturthi every year with tremendous enthusiasm.

10. Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?

In India, particularly in regions like Goa and Maharashtra, the celebration honors Lord Ganesha as the Lord of New Beginnings, the Remover of Obstructions, and the God of knowledge and wisdom.

Lord Ganesha’s birthday is commemorated as Ganesh Chaturthi. Among the most significant Hindu gods, Lord Ganesh is revered by practically all Hindu households around the globe. Lord Ganesh is the deity who bestows wisdom, guards against evil, fills his followers’ lives with bliss, and removes their difficulties and impediments. All the other gods adore and worship Lord Ganesha.

Lord Ganesha is therefore addressed before beginning any new endeavor or journey in life, including those involving relationships, professional advancement, personal accomplishments, and more. Thus, all Hindus commemorate the birth of Ganesha with the greatest amount of enthusiasm, joy, and devotion.

Who started Ganesh Chaturthi and why?

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi originated during the Maratha period, with Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj initiating it. The legend revolves around the birth of Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Although other stories surround his birth, the most important one is shared here.

What does Ganesh symbolize?

Lord Ganesha’s enormous elephant head represents the wisdom, insight, and discriminating intellect required to achieve perfection. The wide mouth represents the innate human desire to enjoy life in the world.

Ganesha’s large belly indicates ultimate acceptance and kindness. The upraised hand of Ganesha represents protection. It signifies’ Fear not, I am with you,’ and his lowered hand symbolizes both his generosity and an invitation to bow down. Ganesha also has a single tusk, which means oneness. This also represents the reality that we will all disintegrate into the Earth one day. He holds the ‘Ankusa’ (which represents enlightenment) and the ‘Paasa’ (signifying control).

Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, travels on the back of a mouse. Isn’t that perplexing? Again, there is significant symbolism here. The mouse represents the mantra that may cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance to the ultimate wisdom symbolized by Ganesha! The mouse snips and chews at the tying ropes.

What do we do on Ganesh Chaturthi?

Seek Lord Ganesha’s blessings. Offer the coconut, fruits, and other eatables you brought, especially for Ganesha. While burning camphor at the altar, sing Ganesha songs. Give the prasad to your family and guests.

Use gingelly or coconut oil to light a lamp. Light incense sticks and gathers in front of the altar with family members.

A holy wash can be performed on the idol (if the material of the idol is suitable to permit the water). Rose water, sandal paste, coconut water, honey, panchamrit, and other things can be used. After the holy bath, wipe the statue with a clean cloth. Using sandal paste, vermilion, clothes, jewelry, flowers, and garlands, decorate the picture of Ganesh.

Chant Ganesh’s mantras and flowers should be placed at the base of the image or idol. Continue the morning and evening pujas till you decide to keep the idol in devotion after Ganesh Chaturthi. On Visarjan, you can do the final puja and bid farewell to Lord Ganesh, hoping for his return the following year.

What should we not do on Ganesh Chaturthi?

During the festival, devotees and their families should avoid eating garlic and onions after Ganpati Sthapna. During the event, Lord Ganesha will be visiting your home. As a result, everything should be served to Ganapati first, whether it’s food, water, or prasad.

It should be remembered that Ganesha should never be left unattended at home. At least one family member should accompany him. During this time, devotees should refrain from gambling, whether inside or outside the home. Meat and alcohol consumption are also strictly prohibited. Stealing or cheating will result in severe punishment from Ganesha.

Negative thoughts should be avoided. In the presence of the Lord, one must also refrain from fighting or using bad words. In stressful situations, try to remain cool since Ganesha will look after you and your problems. Following the installation of a Ganesha idol in your home, you should practice celibacy during the festival period.

What is the date of Ganpati 2022?

August 31, 2022.

The Lord is the Wednesday god, which is unusual. Ganesh Chaturthi/Vanya Chaturthi falls on the Chaturthi Tithi of Shukla Paksha of Bhadra Month. It will be observed this year on Wednesday, August 31, 2022.

The Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada’s Chaturthi begins on August 30 at 3:34 pm.

Shukla Bhadrapada’s Chaturthi ends on August 31 at 3:23 pm.

Ganesh Puja timings for midday: 11.12 am to 1:42 pm

9.29 am to 9 pm are the hours when Chandra Darshan

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