How Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a Maharashtrian home

  • By Dr Prachi Moghe
  • September 18, 2023
  • 2830 views
Visarjan day at Girgaum Chowpatty, Mumbai.
  • Why is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated and bringing Ganesha home. What are rituals (shodashopachar puja) performed during Ganesh Chaturthi Puja? Eco-friendly benefits of Matoli. 

To read part 1 Origin of Ganesha worship in India

 

Festivals indeed hold a special place in the lives of individuals and communities, and they serve as occasions for joy, unity, and cultural expression. In India, where religious and cultural diversity is rich, festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival, especially in Maharashtra, is a prominent example of how festivals are celebrated with pomp and joy, and it has a significant historical and cultural background.

 

Why Ganesha Chaturthi

According to Ganesh Puranas, birth of Ganesh is on Magha, Vinayak Chaturthi; but his Parthiva form, earthly incarnation has occurred on Bhadrapad Chaturthi. The Vrata of Ganesh Worship starts from Bhadrapada Chaturthi and ends on Magh Chaturthi. Parthiv Ganesh is worshipped only in month of Bhadrapada from Chaturthi to Chaturdashi

Ganesh Murti Installation

The Ganesh Chaturthi festival typically begins on Bhadrapada Shuddha Chaturthi, when devotees bring a murti of Lord Ganesh into their homes. The murti is installed with a special ceremony called Pranapratishthapana and worshipped with shodashopachar puja, which involves 16 rituals and offerings.

 

Decoration

Homes and public places are decorated in a special way to welcome Lord Ganesh. Elaborate decorations, including flower garlands, lights, and artistic displays, are common during this time.

Food

Special menus are prepared on this auspicious day, featuring a variety of sweets and savory dishes. Modak, a sweet dumpling, is a traditional favorite and is considered Lord Ganesh's favourite food.

 

Duration of celebration varies

Ganesh Chaturthi can be celebrated for different durations, such as one and a half days, five days, seven days, and ten days. The most widely celebrated duration is the ten-day festival, which culminates on Anant Chaturdashi.

 

Historical Significance

The worship of Lord Ganesh at home dates back to the 6th century C.E., but it was during the National Freedom Struggle that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak played a pivotal role in transforming this household worship into a public festival. He encouraged people to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi publicly, turning it into a social and political event.

 

Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava

The public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, known as Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava, gained immense popularity during the freedom struggle. It served as a platform for people to come together, promote unity, and discuss social and political issues. The festival became a symbol of national pride and played a significant role in India's quest for independence.

 

Today, Ganesh Chaturthi is not only a religious festival but also a cultural and social celebration. It brings people from all walks of life together to participate in the joyous festivities, create artistic Ganesh murtis, and immerse them in water bodies on Anant Chaturdashi. The festival showcases the spirit of unity, devotion, and cultural heritage that is deeply rooted in Indian society. It continues to be one of the most widely celebrated and cherished festivals in Maharashtra and throughout India.

 

Ganesha murti is indeed one of the central elements of Ganesh Chaturthi Puja. Devotees can choose from a variety of murtis available in the market, and in recent times, there has been a growing emphasis on eco-friendly murtis.

 

Here are some important aspects related to the Ganesha murti and the rituals performed during Ganesh Chaturthi Puja.

 

Types of Murti

Ganesha murtis come in various sizes, styles, and materials. Traditionally, murtis are made of clay, but today, you can find murtis made from materials such as plaster of Paris, metal, and even eco-friendly materials like paper mache. The choice of material often depends on personal preferences and environmental considerations.

 

Face Covered

It is a common practice to bring the Ganesha murti home with the face covered. The unveiling of the murti and the Pranapratishthapana (invoking the divine presence) ceremony is a significant and sacred moment during the festival.

 

Use of Flowers and Leaves

In Hinduism, offering flowers and leaves is a common practice when worshipping deities. Lord Ganesha is no exception, and devotees use a variety of fresh flowers and leaves, such as lotus petals, marigolds, and bilva leaves, to adorn the murti and make offerings during the puja.

 

MATOLI

The tradition of decorating Matoli is a beautiful and eco-friendly practice observed in the Konkan and Goa regions of India during festivals, particularly during the Ganesh Chaturthi. Matoli refers to a decorative arrangement or hanging made from various natural elements, such as leaves, fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

This tradition serves several meaningful purposes:

 

1. Environmental Awareness: Matoli decorations provide an excellent opportunity for children and individuals to learn about the local flora, vegetables, and fruits that are part of their surroundings. It fosters environmental awareness and encourages a deeper connection with nature.

2. Cultural Expression: Matoli is a form of cultural expression that reflects the unique traditions and practices of the region. It showcases the use of locally available materials to create beautiful and artistic displays.

3. Eco-Friendly: Matoli decorations are inherently eco-friendly because they are made from natural and biodegradable materials. Unlike synthetic decorations, Matoli decorations have a minimal ecological footprint.

4. Community Bonding: The process of creating Matoli often involves the participation of family members, neighbours, and the community as a whole. It is a collaborative effort that fosters a sense of togetherness and community bonding.

5. Festival Spirit: Matoli decorations enhance the festive spirit of occasions like Ganesh Chaturthi. They add color, vibrancy, and a sense of celebration to the surroundings.

6. Cultural Heritage: Matoli is a part of the rich cultural heritage of the Konkan and Goa regions. It is a tradition that has been passed down through generations, preserving the cultural identity of the community.

7. Sustainability: The use of natural materials in Matoli aligns with sustainability principles, as it reduces the demand for synthetic and non-biodegradable decorations.

8. The Matoli tradition is a wonderful example of how festivals can be celebrated in an environmentally conscious and culturally meaningful way. It promotes a harmonious relationship between humans and nature while celebrating the spirit of festivity and community.

 

Ganesh Puja Timing

Ganesh Puja can be performed during the morning, and it is customary for devotees to take a bath and wear clean clothes before starting the puja. The timing of the puja can vary from one household to another, depending on family traditions and preferences.

 

GANESH PUJA 

Sixteen Rituals (Shodashopachara)

The Shodashopachara Puja involves performing sixteen specific rituals and offering sixteen items to Lord Ganesha. The various steps involved in performing the Ganesh Puja, with their respective mantras and rituals, are below. This sequence of rituals is a traditional and essential way to worship Lord Ganesh with devotion and reverence. Each step carries its significance and symbolizes offerings to the deity.

 

1. Avahana: Invocation of Lord Ganesh to invite his divine presence and blessings.

2Pratishthapana: The installation of the Lord Ganesh murti while chanting mantras, establishing a sacred connection.

3Asana Samarpana: Offering a seat to Lord Ganesh with flowers, symbolizing hospitality and respect.

4Padya Samarpana: Offering water to wash the feet of Lord Ganesh, a gesture of purification and respect.

5. Arghya Samarpan: Offering scented water to the deity, representing the washing away of impurities and negative energies.

6Achaman: Offering water to Lord Ganesh for sipping, purifying both the deity and the worshiper.

7Snana: Giving a ceremonial bath to Lord Ganesh with water while chanting mantras, signifying the purification of the deity. Panchamruta Snana: Bathing Lord Ganesh with a mixture of five nectars (milk, curd, honey, ghee, and sugar), symbolizing nourishment and purity.

8Suvasita Snanam: Bathing Lord Ganesh with scented oil, enhancing his divine radiance.

9. Shuddhodaka Snanam: Giving Lord Ganesh a bath with pure water, signifying cleanliness and spiritual purity.

10Vastra Samarpana and Uttariya Samarpana: Offering new clothes and a sacred thread to the deity, symbolizing respect and honor.

11Yajnopavita Samarpan: Presenting the sacred thread (Yajnopavita) to Lord Ganesh, indicating initiation and spiritual connection.

12Gandha: Offering scented sandalwood paste (gandha) to Lord Ganesh, signifying fragrance and purity.

13Akshata: Offering unbroken rice (akshata) to the deity, symbolizing prosperity and abundance.

14Pushpamala and Patri: Presenting a garland of flowers and 21 leaves to Lord Ganesh, each leaf holding medicinal and symbolic significance. Red Coloured flowers are Lord Ganesha's favourite ones. There is story about Raktavarna-use of red flowers in Ganesh Purana - in Dwapara Yuga,Gajanana killed Sindurasur. The red hibiscus is offered to the deity as the flower is radiant and has a pleasant fragrance. Fresh flowers signify beauty, purity, softness and fragrance.

15Sindoor: Applying vermilion (sindoor) as tilak on the forehead of Lord Ganesh, symbolizing auspiciousness and protection.

16. Dhoop: Offering incense (dhoop) to Lord Ganesh, purifying the environment and creating a fragrant atmosphere for worship.

Naivedya/Offering

1. Coconut - Also known as Shreefal - every part of the coconut is useful in some way or the other. In Ganesh Pujan, it signifies the presence of Shiva and is supposed to attract all the blessings from heaven. Breaking the coconut signifies breaking the hurdles in life and Lord Ganesha—the Vighna Vinayak and Vignaharta is worshipped for the exact same reason. 

2. MODAK is a sweet which is a favourite of Lord Ganesha. It has a special significance on Ganesh Chaturthi Puja. In the ceremony, one must make an offering of twenty-one Modaks to the deity. Keep your heart, mind, body and soul immersed in the bhakti of Lord Ganesha and you shall receive his blessings. Steamed (Ukadiche)  Modak or fried (Talaniche)  Modak are offered.

These rituals collectively create a sacred and spiritually charged atmosphere during the Ganesh Puja, allowing devotees to connect with Lord Ganesh on a deeper level and seek his blessings for wisdom, prosperity, and the removal of obstacles.

 

Special Chanting

Arati and Bhajans are rendered.

 

On Ganesha Chaturthi, devotees often perform special pujas like Eka Vinshati Nameh Ganesh Puja, where twenty-one different names of Lord Ganesha are chanted, and Lord Ganesha Anga Puja, where specific parts of the deity's body are worshipped. These pujas enhance the depth of devotion and spiritual connection with Lord Ganesha. They perform recitation-Avartana of Atharvashirsha.

 To see videos of recitation Arati ...Sukhakarta dukhharta by Lata Mangeshwar And Atharvashirsha by Pradip Bhide

Celebrations at Laxmi road, Pune are famous.

Visarjan (Immersion)

At the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, devotees participate in the visarjan ceremony, where the Ganesha murti is immersed in a water body, symbolizing the departure of Lord Ganesha after his visit to Earth. This immersion is accompanied by prayers and devotional songs.

Visarjan at Girgaum Chowpatty, Mumbai.  

Ganesh Chaturthi is a time of great devotion, celebration, and community involvement. The rituals and customs associated with this festival vary from region to region but are marked by a deep reverence for Lord Ganesha and a desire for his blessings of wisdom, prosperity, and the removal of obstacles.

Read    How is GAURI PUJA celebrated, that takes place during Ganapati https://www.esamskriti.com/e/Culture/Festivals/GAURI-PUJAN-takes-place-during-Ganesh-Chaturthi--1.aspx

 

Author    Dr Moghe is Assistant Professor (Archaeology), Centre of Archaeology, Centre for Extra Mural Studies, University of Mumbai.

 

Also read

1. Album Ganesha Temple in Pondicherry

2. Album Ganesha in Indonesia

3. Read Ganapati Atharvasirha  

4. Maharashtra’s famous Ashtavinayaka Temples

5. Deeper symbolic meaning of Ganesha and message conveyed

6. Ganesha is global God in a globalised world

7. Enshrining of Ganesha

8. In Hindi - Amazing traditions and statues of Ganesha

Receive Site Updates