About Ganesh Chaturthi
|Date||Aug 25, 2017|
|Main Attraction||The highlights are the celebrations and the immersion of deities.|
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and Ganeshotsav. According to Hindu calendar it is celebrated on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad. During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, idols are made in great numbers. These are usually made out of clay or metal in all sizes; some of them are even as big as 20 ft. People purchase deities of Lord Ganesha and put them in their homes and worship them for one to ten days. After this the deities are taken out majestically, through the streets and are immersed into a river, sea or a well (especially in Maharashtra). Cultural feasts are also organized with main features like classical music and dance performances, folk dances, poetry recitations and film festivals.
It isn't clear when Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated. History records the festival being celebrated in Pune as a public event during the reign of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire in 1630-80. From 1749 till 1818, the Peshwas encouraged the celebrations in Pune. With the fall of the Peshwas, the Ganesh Chaturthi festival lost its state support and became a private family celebration till its renewal by Lokmanya Tilak. In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak changed the family festival into a large public event. He popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a major festival in order to bridge the gap between different castes and generate patriotic zeal among people against the British rule.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with huge enthusiasm in most parts of the country especially in Maharashtra and parts of South India. Preparations start two to three months before the festival. Idols of Ganesha are prepared by skilled artisans and are decorated and painted beautifully. These statues vary in size and are installed in houses and temporary erected special structures called Mandapas or Pandals in each locality. These Pandals are decorated with items like lights, flower garlands, etc. Some of the decorations are based on themes.
The priest is then called in to invoke life into the statue by chanting mantras and performing rituals. The Deity of Lord Ganesha is worshipped for ten days and on the eleventh day the statue is taken in a procession through the streets escorted with a fanfare of singing and dancing. It is finally immersed in the sea or a river symbolizing a ritual in which Lord Ganesha takes a journey towards his abode, taking along the troubles of his devotees. This ritual is known as Ganesh Visarjan in Marathi, Ganesha Visarjane in Kannada and Vinayaka Nimajjanam or Vinayaka Nimarjana in Telugu.
The festival is also celebrated with various cultural activities, theater performances, community activities like free medical checkup camps, charity for the poor, etc. The Ganesh Chaturthi has become an important economic event. Many industries, businesses and artists survive on this mega-event as it provides them an excellent stage to present their art to the community.
Last Updated on : December 28, 2016