Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 | Introduction
Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 Dedicated to the elephant-headed, youngest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 is amongst the most joyously celebrated festivals of Hindus in India. It is one of the significant festivals which happens all around the country with utmost devotion and commitment.
The day is noticed as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha who is worshipped as a symbol of wisdom, happiness, prosperity and good fortune in our country. Ganesh Chaturthi also was known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi, is a festival commemorated consistently for 11 days in the honor and sacredness of Ganesha Ji.
The festival usually falls in the month of August or September as per the Gregorian calendar, under the regulation of the fourth day of Hindu lunisolar calendar month called Bhadrapada. On this auspicious occasion, a tradition is followed where clay idols of Lord Ganesha are brought and established in the temples of their homes with great enthusiasm and spiritual spirit.
The god of beginnings is worshipped soulfully from day 1 (Chaturthi) to day 11 (Anant Chaturdashi) of the establishment as per the rituals of the ceremony. Finally, on the 11th day, Ganesh Visarjan is performed where the clay statues of the holy figure are taken outside in a colorful and musical rally to the seashores and customarily left in the water to be immersed.
Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 | Why do we celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi?
In accordance to the Hindu mythology, there exists a couple of reasons or stories which lead the people to celebrate this arrival and departure of Lord Ganesha in an extremely grand way. There are two main and distinct sides about the birth of Ganesha, which has itself marked as the birth anniversary of the holy figure.
The first story says that Lord Ganesha was crafted by his mother, Goddess Parvati from the dirt off her body that left her after having a bath so that he can stand and guard outside the door while she completes her bathing. The mighty Shiva who was out during this situation returned while child Ganesha was guarding his mother.
After he returned, Lord Shiva who was unaware about the birth of Ganesha got into a lift with his own child for Lord Ganesha didn’t allow him to enter towards the Goddess Parvati.
The argument got heated up to such an extent that angry Shiva ended up smashing the head of Ganesha after a furious rage between the father and son. Seeing the head of Ganesha lying on the floor so mercilessly, Parvati was enraged and disheartened.
Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 | Story tale
Followed to which, Shiva promised Parvati that he will bring back Ganesha to her all alive and happy. Shiva, along with the devas, went on the search of a head of a dead person that must be facing north. It so happened that the first dead head which Shiva found was that of an elephant. He went back with the elephant’s head and fixed it on the body of Lord Ganesha. This brought back the child back to life.
The second myth regarding the birth of Lord Ganesha says that he was created by both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on earnest request of the Devas so that the world could have a positive and most efficient power to fight against the negativity or the Asur rakshasas i.e. The demonic beings.
In other ways to say, so that Lord Ganesha can conquer over evil and spread love and positivity around the world. He was born to be an obstacle-creator (Vighnakartaa) for the rakshasas and an obstacle-averter (Vighnahartaa) to aid the Devas.
Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 | Importance and history of the festival
It is believed that it was the Moon who kept the fast of Ganesha for the very first time, for he was angrily cursed by Lord Ganesha for his misbehavior towards him. After worshipping Ganesh wholeheartedly and with pure sacredness, the Moon was blessed for knowledge and beauty by Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha is the most supreme power and god of Hindus who is believed to bless his devotees with fortune and joy. As mentioned above, he is considered as the Vighnahartaa for his followers. Also, he is the Buddhi Pradaayaka i.e. The one who grants intelligence and mindfulness.
Students who worship and follow Lord Ganesha are said to be blessed with wisdom and illuminating minds. The festival holds great importance for every Hindu but is said to be more significant for the students for the same reasons.
Known by 108 different names, Lord Ganesha is the Deva of Wisdom and the Lord of arts and sciences. He is honored and respected with great fidelity and loyalty at the beginning of a new work or a new event to make it successful, by his worshippers.
Therefore, he is also spirituality referred to as the God of Beginnings. Hindus over the country believe that Ganesha arrives on earth annually and bestow his lovers and admirers with lots of love and desirable blessings. This is why is dearly addressed as Ganapati or Vinayaka.
In early years, the celebrations of this pious festival were limited to certain families but later the boundaries of festivity expanded and it became a household celebration performed annually. People began following the ritual of Ganapati Sthapana and Ganapati Visarjan to offer their prayers to the almighty and get free from their sufferings and problems.
Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 | History
Initially, the Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 was first celebrated by the great Maratha ruler Shivaji (c.1630 – 80). The ruler used the festival to ignite and encourage the feeling of nationalism among his subjects who were then in a revolt against the Mughals.
Later, the ceremony was restarted as a festival by Lokmanya Tilak (popularly known as Bal Gangadhar Tilak) in 1893. A social reformer, Indian nationalist and freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak made the worship of Lord Ganesha a strong ritual to protect the civilians of India against the British Raj.
In older times, the festival was only restricted to Brahmins. But today the celebration is observed as a national festival which has served as a weapon towards the removal of the inequality which prevails between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins.
The festival is widely celebrated in different parts of the world which has Hindu communities as the residents. In India, the most galore view of the celebrations is easily visible in Maharashtra and parts of western India where the preparation goes on full swing ones the festival is around the corner and the celebrations are something outrageous and differential to a part of.
The most popular and beloved temple among the devotees, especially the Maharashtrians, is the Siddhi Vinayaka Temple which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is the most beautiful place to visit during the 11 days of Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018.
Vinayaka Chaturthi 2018 | The Grand Extravaganza
The festival begins by bringing a life-like clay idol of Lord Ganesha, which is prepared 2-3 months before the day of the festival. The clay model of Ganesha is brought to the temple or to the pandals which are specifically made for the Ganeshotsav or to the home of a family which is installed on a raised platform decorated beautifully with ferns, petals, flowers, and lightning to pay their sacred homage to the almighty.
- Ganesh Aarti is performed twice during morning and evening every day at the place of clay idol establishment.
- The ardent enthusiasts of Lord Ganesha offer their prayers through the recitation of songs and mantras.
- The Ganesh Aarti is performed by the priest which is followed by all the members present in the Ganesh Pandal or at homes.
- The priest is covered in a red silk shawl and dhoti who is supposedly believed to invoke life into the clay idol of Lord Ganesha amongst the chanting of mantras.
This tradition is what is called ‘Pranapratishhtha’. Later the ritual of ‘Shhodashopachara’ is fulfilled which directs towards 16 ways of paying tribute to Lord Ganesha. After the aarti, offerings are made to Lord Ganesha which includes coconut, jaggery, 21 Modakas, 21 Durva blades, and red flowers.
The idol of Ganesha is smeared with Rakta Chandan. All this happens regularly for 10 days. The offerings are made to seek blessings of wisdom, knowledge, and prosperity from the mighty Ganesha. During the Ganesh Aarti, Vedic hymns are chanted from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shrisha Upanishad.
And Ganesha Strota is also hummed from the Narada Purana. Ganesha is worshipped in accordance with the rituals, these traditions are carried out regularly for 10 days with utmost devotion and religiosity.
- Ganesh Visarjan, performed on the 11th day, is an extremely special and vital portion of the puja which is performed as per the muhurat.
- All the people of the house, be it, elders or youngsters, participate in the final tour very encouragingly and enthusiastically.
- clay model of Lord Ganesha is taken out through the streets in a very joyful and lively procession. Every individual fully dwells into dancing and singing.
- The idol is made to be immersed in a river or the sea. This immersion of the image into water symbolizes the see-off of Ganesha towards his return journey to his home Kailash Parvat where he takes along all the miseries and misfortunes of all his devotees.
Every individual participates in the final ritual of the festivity by happily shouting “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” where the devotees request their mighty father Ganesha to return early next year.