Known as an important occasion in the Hindu calendar, Ganesha Chaturthi is the festival related to Lord Ganesha. As the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, he was quite adorable and the might Lord Shiva bestowed him with the blessing of being worshipped before any other god. This is the reason that worshipping Lord Ganesha before starting any new work is considered highly auspicious. Also called as the Vinayak Chaturthi, the festival is celebrated with much pomp and enthusiasm. The beauty of the festival lies in the decorations, happiness and excitement prevailing all around for about 10 days. Basically, Ganesha Chaturthi takes place in the Hindu month of Bhadrapaada that happens to start on Shukla Chaturthi and ends at Anant Chaturdashi.
What to Wear on Ganesha Chaturthi:
Being a vibrant festival of the Hindus, the women and men are said to wear bright colors; though, this is more seen in women with silk or bright colored sarees worn by them in typical Maharashtrian style. This is not the same case for the women of every state. Certainly, they do wear vibrant colors; but, the saree tying style is different as per the cultural practices. Girls wear salwar suits, lehengas on this auspicious day. On the other end, the men wear smart dresses with dhoti and kurta in bright shades. This marks the joy and heightened happiness in their hearts for the festival.
The Legend of Lord Ganesha:
It was at the time that Lord Shiva had gone to take Samadhi beyond Mount Kailash and Goddess Parvati was feeling lonely because her son Karthikeya was also gone to help the other gods. So, with her tremendous power, she created a son by the name of Ganesha. When, Lord Shiva came, he saw Ganesha standing ahead of mother Parvati and restricting access to her. Becoming furious, he cut his head with the Trishul. To this, Parvati informed him that Lord Ganesha is his son and he has to make him alive. In this regard, he placed the head of an elephant as joining the original head was not possible. From there on, Lord Ganesha was blessed by Lord Shiva that he will always be worshipped ahead of other gods.
Making of Ganesha Idols Months Ago:
Months and weeks before the actual occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi, artists happen to prepare clay models of Lord Ganesha. There are various sizes that may include small ones to a very massive idol having a height of 2 or 3 floors. The artisans create various shapes or postures of Lord Ganesha and decorate them richly. They tend to use vibrant colors, decorative material, and even jewellery. The beauty of the idols enhance with the expert fineness developed in the idols because everything is carried out with much perfection.
Preparations to be Made Before and After Lord Ganesha Idol is Installed:
Before getting the Lord Ganesha idol at home, there is a need to clean the entire place with Ganga water because of its pious qualities. Further to this, the temple area is required to be decorated with flowers, colourful papers and other artificial materials. This may also include wall hangings and wind chimes. Along with this, putting the pictures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the either side of Lord Ganesha would definitely add value to the celebratory preparations. The accessories of Puja should be well washed before actual use. Finally, a pot should be filled with water and a coconut wrapped in red cloth should be placed over it and kept in front of the idol. With all these preparations made, the devotees are all set to welcome Lord Ganesha in their home.
Placing the Idol of Lord Ganesha in Home:
On the very first day, the idols of various sizes are brought into the house through a small procession. The idol is installed in the temple at the house and daily puja takes place. It is carried out twice a day and bhog or parsad is offered to the lord. In some houses, the devotees happen to light a continuous lamp with Desi Ghee. As the people bring the idol in the house, there is a need to take care about the type of Ganesha installed. Some like to have the idols of Lord Ganesha with his trunk towards right side, which is known as Siddhi Vinayak; while, many others bring idol of Lord Ganesha with left trunk, which is auspicious to be placed in the homes.
Positioning of Lord Ganesha Idol in Pandals:
Well, at the start of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival, huge Pandals are prepared at different parts of India; especially in Maharashtra. These Pandals are erected by the Society groups of a region for common worshipping. This is carried out by collecting monetary contributions from the homes in a society. The Pandals are decorated with much enthusiasm by the exquisite decorative material like floral garlands, lights and even theme based designs. However, the priests are clad in white and red colored dhoti kurta. They sing religious hymns, doing Puja twice a day and offering Bhog to Lord Ganesha. The best part of visiting these Pandals is that devotes get a chance to see various types of Lord Ganesha Idols and taste typical Maharashtrian vegetarian delights.
The Final Day of Immersion:
On the 11th day of the festival, the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed in the flowing water; be it the river or canal or sea. As the day comes, huge groups of devotees are seen taking part in the procession that is carried out to take the idol towards the water. The devotees sing hymns of Lord Ganesha and dance to the melodious tunes. Along with this, they throw color on each other to denote the happiness residing in them. Some of the groups also hire Dhol Wala, who beat the drums signifying the presence of Lord Ganesha and the merry-making associated with the festival. The idol is carried by the swimmers till the deepest point possible and the immersion takes place, biding adieu to the Lord Ganesha and praying to return next year again for bestowing the blessings.