Is Ganesh Chaturthi/Vinayaka Chaturthi a Public Holiday?
Ganesh Chaturthi/Vinayaka Chaturthi is considered an optional public holiday in India. This means that only selected states in India observe this day as a holiday. Hence, most of the businesses, enterprises, offices, banks and retail and shopping stores remain open and operational on this day.
Although flexible hours can be applied on this day, and the employees can either work half day or take a full day off accordingly. This is applicable in cities that hold large processions and festivities. However, several academic institutions, colleges, schools, universities etc. may remain closed. Traffic on this day seems congested since public processions are carried out in full force with a crowd full of people dancing to the tunes of local songs and playing with flowers and colors.
Ganesha Chaturthi History
Ganesh Chaturthi history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. The festival of Ganesha Chaturthi commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the divine son of Mahadev Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. He is believed to be the God of Good Fortune, Luck, Prosperity and Wisdom, and has been blessed with the boon of being venerated first before the commencement of any task, ritual or auspicious ceremony.
After 1893, it was Lokmanya Tilak, an influential social reformer and famous freedom fighter, who transformed the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi into a large, public event. The main objective of Tilak was to bridge the gap between Brahmins and Non-Brahmins, due to which he encouraged people to install huge images and idols of Lord Ganesha in public and started the ritual of Visarjan or Immersion into oceans or rivers.
With his encouragement, community participation was seen in full force, and people of different backgrounds were seen carrying out several activities such as poetry recitals, plays, musicals, folk dances and much more.
Mythological Significance Of Ganesh Chaturthi
As per the mythological beliefs, Lord Krishna was blamed for the theft of Syamantak Mani, for which he had to face severe consequences. Seeing his condition, Devarshi Narada revealed to him that he had mistakenly seen the Moon on the Chaturthi Tithi during Shukla Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada, which is why he had to face such sufferings.
Narada told him that it was this day when Lord Ganesha cursed the Moon since Chandra Dev laughed at him when he fell off from his mount. On his suggestion, Lord Krishna performed the fast of Ganesh Chaturthi and got rid of his curse.
Hence, the ritual of fasting on the day of Vinayaka Chaturthi came into prominence. Invoking Lord Ganesha with devotion on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi helps to attain his blessings and seek several boons.
Ganesha Chaturthi/Vinayaka Chaturthi Celebrations
For the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, huge and beautiful models made of clay or mud of Lord Ganesha are crafted months before its arrival. The height of these statues can reach up to 25 feet tall. Special pandals and mandaps are established and decorated with lights CE and flowers.
Several temples are adorned with beautiful decorations to mark this occasion. Local communities compete on this day over putting up the best pandal and statue of Lord Ganesha. Various cultural programs are held on this day which can range from singing competitions, dancing, yoga activities, theatre performance coma and much more. Various social welfare activities are also carried out on this day and charities and donations are made for the needy and poor.
Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi stretches for about 10 to 11 days and on the last day, i.e. Anant Chaturdashi, the idols of Ganesha are offered various offerings such as flowers, coconuts etc., followed by huge public processions, dancing and singing after which they are immersed in water. The immersion of the idols of Lord Ganesha represents the elimination of bad luck and misfortunes and his journey back to his house Mount Kailash.
Mumbai, a densely populated city in Maharashtra, is the best place for locals and tourists to witness the grand celebration on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Flocks of people gathered together at the Siddhivinayak Temple solely dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat & Puja Vidhi
- Wake up early in the morning, bathe and wear neat, clean clothes.
- Any native fasting on the day must create an idol of Lord Ganesha with mud, copper, gold etc.
- Fill an urn or Kalash with water, cover its mouth with a cloth and place the idol of Ganesha on top of it.
- Invoke him by performing the ritual of Pran Pratishtha and chant several mantras.
- Offer Durva, flowers, jaggery, coconut, coins and Sindoor, and perform the Abhishek with a red sandalwood or chandan powder.
- Place 21 Laddoos or Modaks on a plate and offer it to Lord Ganesha as a Prasad.
- After offering the Bhog to the Lord, feed the Brahmins and poor and needy.
- Worship Lord Ganesha while reciting the Ganesh Chaturthi Katha, Ganesh Chalisa and Ganesh Aarti.
- Offer water to the Moon but avoid looking at it.
At homes or public places, Ganesha idols are usually kept on raised platforms. A ritual of Pran Pratishtha is carried out, followed by invoking the Lord, then the Shodashopachara ceremony where people pay tribute to the Lord in sixteen different ways. After this, he is anointed with Chandan and flowers and offered his favourite sweets, Modakas.
With Ganesh Chaturthi ending, the statutes of Lord Ganesha are carried out in public processions and immersed in the oceans or local rivers, symbolizing his return to Mount Kailasa where his parents Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati reside. People dance throughout the way on the beats of drums, play with colors and sing devotional songs.
Delicacies on Ganesha Chaturthi
Strong, delicious fragrances come out of houses on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Some of the famous and popularly prepared delicacies on this day are Modaks, which are sweetened dumplings made from wheat or rice flour and stuffed with dried fruits, jaggery and coconut. This sweet is said to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite dish and offered as a Bhoga to the Lord as well as Prasada to the devotees. This dish is also known as Kadubu in Kannada, Kozhukattai or Modakam in Tamil and Kozhakatta or Modakkam in Malayalam.
Some of the popular dishes offered to Lord Ganesha in the form of Naivedya in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are Vundrallu, Panakam, Vadapappu, Chalividi and much more. In several parts of Karnataka, a dish called Panchakajjaya is offered to Lord Ganesha. These are some of the delicacies enjoyed by the natives all over India.
Why are the Idols of Lord Ganesha Immersed in Water?
In Hinduism, idols or statues of deities are venerated with utter devotion since it provides the humans with a visible form of the Gods and Goddesses to pray. As per one of the principles of Hinduism, the Universe remains in a perpetual state of change and the cycle of Life and Death remains constant.
However, Energy is indestructible and remains an intangible part of life. On this note, the statues are immersed in holy waters, oceans or water bodies as a reminder of this belief. It teaches that nothing is permanent in this life and letting go of things or people we love at times can be sometimes necessary. This is why the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed at the end of Ganesh Chaturthi, and this ritual is popularly known as Ganesh Visarjan.
గణేష్ చతుర్థి/వినాయక చతుర్థి Observances
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1. Is Ganesh Chaturthi/Vinayaka Chaturthi a bank holiday in India?
No, Ganesh Chaturthi is not considered a bank holiday. However, a restricted working schedule can be followed on this day.
2. Initially, the idols of Ganesh were sculpted by what?
Initially, the idols of Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi were sculpted by mud.
3. Apart from India, Lord Ganesha is venerated in what other countries?
Apart from India, the Lord is venerated in China, Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and Afghanistan.
4. Which state celebrates the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi on a grand scale?
Maharashtra is known to celebrate this day on a grand scale.
From the above information, it is evident that the auspicious festival of Ganesh Chaturthi 2021 in India is celebrated on శుక్రవారం, 10 సెప్టెంబర్ with great devotion and excitement. We hope you have liked this article on Ganesh Chaturthi in India. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.