Festive seasons are starting soon and it is a tradition of specifically workship different Gods and Goddesses on this occasion. For example we carried an article on Laxmi Poojan Mantras as well as another one related to Diwali Pooja vidhi. As Ganesh Chaturthi is nearing in 2017 and falls on 25th August we will focus on that.
Blessings of Lord Shiva
The Lord of the Lords Mahadev had suggested that Lord Ganesh will be the first god to be worshipped. Before a puja is started in any Hindu household the first puja is done of Lord Ganesha. Even in the India temples the first idol will always be of Lord Ganesha. Similarly the festive seasons in India start with the puja of Lord Ganesha. It is the first celebration in the year that leads to many more. We will now discuss how to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganesh Chaturthi Date
This year the date for Ganesh Chaturthi is 25th September 2017. We thought that a discussion on how the celebration should be will help you to prepare for the day even better. The festival is celebrated almost all over the country. However, in Maharashtra and Gujarat the festival is more common. Almost all households of these states celebrate this day.
You can keep the Ganesh idol for 10 days maximum starting from 25th August. Some people keep it for a day and a half or 5 or 7 days. The minimum duration that you must keep the idol is one and a half day. Some people don’t know that the Ganesh Chaturthi is actually associated with Indian independence. It was started to unite the people of India. Lord Ganesha was selected for this purpose as most of the Indians worship Him.
PS: when we say 10 days it means the idol is kept at home for 10 days and visarjan is done on 11th day so that is why some sources mention as 11 days – just clarifying as many of our readers had this query
Book Ganesha Idol in Advance
If you are planning to celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi you must ensure that you book your idol at least a few months in advance so that you do not have to run around in the last moment. We request the readers to buy idols that are eco friendly as they are ultimately thrown in the river or the sea. If they are not naturally made with clay they can cause damage to the eco system. You must ensure that you wear new clothes on the day of the puja. This is exactly why try to buy new clothes before hand for all the members of the family.
Another important thing that you must do is book a priest in advance. On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi there are many households that do the puja so getting a priest might be a challenge so better book one in advance.
Pre Preparations For The Pooja
Now that you know what you know what preparations you must do well in advance we will move to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Most people prefer to get the idol of Ganesh a day before that is 24th August. You must tie a black thread around the idol as you get it home. The best time to get the idol on 24th would be as shown in this chart.
This would bring in good luck to your home. When you enter the house with the idol ensure that you say “ Ganapati bappa moriya”. You must tell a family member of yours to throw some rice on the idol as you enter the house. You must keep the idol in a clean place with the face covered.
Madhyahna Ganesha Puja Time = 11:06 am to 13:39 pm
(Courtesy: Pt Ram Dheeraj Mishra Ji)
On the 25th August the installation of the idol must be done. You can do it in the Madhyahana kaal. Even if you cannot manage at these times, anytime is fine. These times are based on the panchang.
When you do the Ganesh puja in the Madhyahana kaal as mentioned above it will bring good luck to you and your family. It will also ensure success to you. Before installing the Ganesha ensure that you place some rice on the spot. On top of the rice place a supari, haldi, kumkum abhil and Dakshina. Place the idol now and you are all set to start the puja.
A Useful Checklist For Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations
We will now take you through the things that you may need to do the Ganesh puja. This can be a good and useful checklist for all:
- 5 paan (beetle) leaves for the kalash.
- Seven suparis
- Three coconut
- A new paint brush so that you can clean the idol daily with it
- Rice about a kg
- For the decoration of the garland you can use whatever you wish to. However, you must ensure that you have a garland and a new cloth that you can use to cover the idol when you are getting it home and keeping it before installation.
- You will need a lot of fresh flowers.
- You must get a red thread to tie in your hands before the puja starts.
- Perfumed oil for the kalash.
- A black thread that you must tie on the idol before you get it home and you must remove it after installing the idol.
- Some banana leaves
- Durva or grass with three ends
- Lots of wicks for the diya. Get a lot of oil and ghee for the diya.
- Modaks is a must for prasad. You can also get some other sweets.
- Get a lot of fresh fruits for prasad.
- You must plan in advance how you want the decoration to be. So please buy all that you will need in advance. Ensure that whatever you use is new and fresh.
- You must ensure that your cameras and your video camera are ready for the occasion.
- Get a toran for the main door of the house. You must also get a toran for the table where the idol is kept. Toran is basically a long chain of flowers that is used for decoration.
- For the puja you will also need a list of small items such a:
- Haldi or turmeric
- Gud or jaggery
- Arati plate and a bell
- You can also get a shankha to play for the Lord
- You must ensure that you have enough paper plates and glasses for people coming home for the puja.
- If you are planning to put lights then do get it done before the main day.
- Inform your friends and family about the puja in advance.
- You can arrange for Bhajans being played during the time when Lord Ganesha is in your house.
Where to Buy Samagri?
You will get most of these items in any puja store. The house must be made clean before the puja. All the items that we have mentioned must be fresh. If you are a non vegetarian then you must ensure that all the non vegetarian items in your house are thrown off before the puja. At least one person of the house must be present in the house when the Lord Ganesha is placed in the house. All days when you have the idol in the house you must ensure that aarti is done in the morning and in the evening regularly.
The Akhand Diya – The Eternal Light
There should be a diya that will be on as long as the idol is in the house. You must see to it that the Diya has enough ghee or oil. This is called the akhand diya. The food that you prepare in the house in these days should be free of garlic, onion and ginger.
The Visarjan of Lord Ganesha
Before you take the Ganesh idol for visarjan you must ensure that you do an aarti. All the family members must be present for this aarti. You must offer Ganesha these five items before you take him out of the house. These are oil lamps, flowers, dhoop, franance and food. After the aarti one family member must move the idol an inch forward. This is to tell the Lord that he will be taken out of the house for visarjan. After ten minutes of doing this you must thank the Lord for coming to your house and blessing your house. Also ask for forgiveness if you have done any mistakes during the stay. Also do tell him to come again the next year.
Other Related Rituals
After this do spray rice on the idol. Lift the idol and take him to all the parts of the house. All the rooms, kitchen, etc must be covered so that Lord can bless all parts of the house. Now place curd on the palm of the Lord. This is an old Hindu belief that a guest who has curd will return again. Now take a red cloth and pack gud and five types of grains in it. Now tie this cloth to the hand of Lord Ganesha. This will be his food for the return journey.
Take some water and sprinkle on the person who is going to do the visarjan. Loudly say
“Ganapati Bappa Moriya”
and leave the house. As soon as you step out of the house a family member must take a coconut around the idol three times and then break the same so that the visarjan goes smoothly. This coconut must not be distributed as prasad. Before the visarjan all garlands and decoration items must be removed. A final small aarti must be done. You must ensure that the idol faces the family members when it is taken to the water.
Remaining Items: What To Do?
All the items and the kalash that you used in the puja must be thrown into some water body the day after the visarjan. The coconut that was placed on the kalash should be kept in your house tied in a red cloth. This must be immersed the next year and the new coconut must be preserved.
If you do not plan to do the puja next year then you can throw this coconut too. Some people want to reuse the Ganesh idol. If you wish to do so keep it in the puja room and do not disturb it till next year. After you return home from the visarjan all family members must take a shower.
The money collected as Dakshina should be distributed to the poor people. The akhanda diya that we have mentioned can be on for the next ten days of the immersion. This is absolutely optional. We recommend that you let it burning till the next day of visarjan.
We hope that this article on how to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi will help you to have a happy and peaceful festival this year. We have tried to cover almost all the points that you may need to know in order to ensure that Lord Ganesha is satisfied with your hospitality and showers his blessings on you and your family.
The Belief of Moon Viewing
Before we leave I would like to bring a small point to your notice. Although it is considered to be a highly auspicious day still there is a belief system that you should avoid seeing the moon on some particular times during this Festival especially on the first day.
The current prohibited dates and times are as follows
There might be debate on the issue that since Lord Ganesha is so benevolent there is no harm in viewing the moon on this day. We might discuss this in a separate post but for now we will go as per what is believed and written in the texts.
In case you happen to view the moon during these times, you will be blamed for something you did not do. In case you still happen to see the moon there is a remedy for that as well.
Do the following simple upayas to get rid of any ill effects of seeing the moon on this day.
1. Have a darshan of the moon on 3rd and 5th day
2. Read or listen to the episode that describes the theft of syamantak mani ( chapters 56/57 of 10th skanda of Srimad Bhagwad.
3. recite this verse in Sanskrit. following holding a glass of water in your hands
सिन्ह प्रसेनमवधीत् सिन्हो जाम्बवता हतः |
सुकुमारक मा रोदीस्तव ह्येष स्यमन्तकः ||
Sinha prasenamavadheet sinho jaambavataa Hatah:|
Sukumarak maa rodistava hyesha syamantaka: ||
Now drink the water you have in your hand and it should nullify any ill effects of the moon darshan during the prohibited times.
The pollution perspective: one thing that we would like to bring to the notice of our viewers is that although performing the rituals is important, in the olden days there were not that many people and volume of visarjans was less.
However with the rising population, the amount of paint, and other material that goes into oceans and rivers might cause problems to other living beings. Hence it is time we change the way we manufacture the idols of Sri Ganesha.
Many people have different ideas for example some people make chocolate idols which are immersed in milk and that milk is distributed to poor kids
Others make the idol in such a way that it contains soil and seeds that germinate upon immersion
Hence these ideas should be explored to take the environmental perspective into consideration as well