Ganapati/ Ganesha is a popular God. His blessings are believed to remove all obstacles to one’s success. He is the giver of fortune, wisdom, and prosperity, and protector against natural calamities. This is probably why Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of the Elephant God, is one of the most popular festivals in India.
This popular Hindu festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi, is celebrated during the month of Bhadrapada. According to the Hindu calendar, it falls on the 4th day (Shukla Chaturthi), and ends on the 14th day of the first fortnight (Anant Chaturdashi). This year, the festival will be celebrated on 13th September. It is a popular belief that during this time, Lord Ganesha visits the home of his devotees and brings good luck and fortune for them.
On this day, devotees pray to God to give them spiritual strength, so that they succeed in their endeavours. The grandeur of this festival is noticed in states like Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
There are a number of rituals and customs that people follow during this festival-
. A popular tradition followed on the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi is to avoid looking at the moon. Looking at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi creates Mithya Dosham or Mithya Kalank, which means false accusation of stealing something. On 12th, the time duration to avoid moon sighting is about 4.5 hours, from 16:07 to 20:33, while on 13th, the time duration is 11.5 hours, from 09:31 to 21:12.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped with sixteen rituals. The prayers are followed by “Puranik Mantras”, which are chanted during Ganesha Chaturhi Puja. Some of the popular Ganesh pooja Mantras sung by the devotees on this day are ‘Ganesha Shubh Labh Mantra’, ‘Ganesha Gayatri Mantra’, ‘Vakratunda Ganesha Mantra' among others. After this, devotees bow in front of Lord Ganesha and pray for the well being of everyone. They also apologise for any mistake done, and ask the Lord to cleanse them of their sins.
The Ganesh Chaturthi rituals conclude with the arti of Lord Ganesha. Arti is a ritual of worship in the Hindu religion in which a sacred earthen lamp, containing a cotton wick, which is dipped in pure ghee and lit, is circulated around the deity. The arti is performed twice on that day, once during the morning and then in the evening. On the 11th day of the celebrations, Ganesha Visarjan is celebrated, in which the idol is submerged in water.
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