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Ganesh Chaturthi 2018 date – Information - Story - Pooja Time for Ganpati Festival in 2018

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Ganeshotsav or Vinayaka Chaturthi, is the birthday of Hindu God Ganesha (Vinayaka - Ganpati), the God of wisdom, prosperity, and auspiciousness. Ganesh Chaturthi 2018 date is Thursday, September 13 - information based on Hindu calendar in India. Ganpati Festival in 2018 ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the murti (idol) on Ananta Chaturdasi day - September 23, 2018. Ganesha is today worshiped around the world and the Elephant-faced Hindu god is one of the most popular deities associated with Hinduism. Like symbol ‘Om’, Ganesha is slowly becoming the face of Hindu religion. This is a pan India festival and is observed in all regions.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi Observed?

Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August - September). Bhadrapad Shukla Paksha Chaturthi or the fourth day during the waxing phase of moon in Hindu Calendar.

Why is it observed?

It is the birthday of Ganesha. Vighnaharta, one among the 108 names of Ganesha, appeared on earth to remove the obstacles of devotees. He is invoked before any puja or prayer in Hinduism. He is the lord of beginnings.

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

A few years back an article on Ganesh Chaturthi might have mentioned Vinayaka as the most popular god in India or might have restricted him within Hinduism. But today, Ganesha is a popular symbol around the world. Slowly and steadily, Ganesha is breaking all religious and national boundaries and is finding a space in many living rooms around the world.

Ganesha breaks that invisible distance which exists between man and god. Children can play with him, teenagers can discuss their problems, and elders can find answers to philosophical questions. Hindu mythology is full of stories related to Ganesha. Devotees and admirers of Ganesha might not be aware of these myths but the image of Ganesha connects with them immediately and is reminded of a Supreme Soul.

Perhaps, Ganesha is the cutest god in the world. People might debate this statement but nobody can ignore the unique figure of Ganesha. The figure represents hope in adversity. Ganesha provides the strength to overcome obstacles. And due to this aspect he is called ‘Vigneshwara.’ He is worshiped first in all prayers. Ganesha’s names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun.

When a devotee stands before Ganesha, the devotee’s ego disappears and is transformed into a child. In that innocent state, one will realize that the elephant head of Ganesha symbolically represents ‘om’ – the first mantra and the primordial sound.

Story of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha is the remover of obstacle - Vighneshwara or Vignaraja – and is always invoked when Hindus are beginning a new enterprise.

It is believed that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of clay and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door, Goddess Parvati went to have her bath.

When her husband, Lord Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him.

Ganesha did not allow Shiva to enter and finally, an enraged Shiva severed the head of the child.

Goddess Parvati returned to find her son dead and was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha and giving birth to elephant-headed Ganesha.

How Long is Ganesh Chaturthi Festival?

In Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days. In other parts of India, it is celebrated for one day on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. On the day special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha.

Who Started Ganesh Chaturthi Festival?

The large scale public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 in Pune.

The origin of the public celebration of Ganesh festival is traced to the period of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, who asked people to perform public celebration to promote culture and nationalism in the 17th century.

The large-scale Ganesh festival as we see today was revived by Lokmanya Tilak, freedom fighter, in the last decade of 19th century in Pune to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies.

Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav - Public Vinayaka Chaturthi Festival

Thousands of Ganesh statues are installed in various public places in India and in Hindu Temples around the world. Millions of small Ganesh idols are installed in Hindu homes in India, especially in Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. After the festival, these statues are immersed in the sea (Ganesh Visarjan ceremony).

Some of the idols of Ganesha prepared during the Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav can reach a height of more than 70 - feet.

The richest Ganesh Chaturthi Pandals are located in Mumbai. Their budgets run in millions.

During the 10-day festival, millions of devotees throng pandals across major cities in India especially in Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Nagpur and Hyderabad.

Some of the popular Ganapati Mandals are:
  • Lalbaugcha Raja – Mumbai
  • Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal at King’s Circle – Mumbai
  • Keshavji Naik Chawl pandal in Girgaum – Mumbai (oldest mandal in Mumbai)
  • Dagdusheth Ganpati – Pune
  • Khairatabad Ganapati – Hyderabad – Secunderabad

Modak - Delicacy Prepared During Festival

Ukadiche modak, or steamed rice ball in a unique shape, made of rice flour and stuffed with coconut, jaggery, and cardamom is a special delicacy made during the period.

Other delicacies include Puran poli and Chakkali.

But the most important delicacy is modak as it is the favorite food of Ganesha.

Today, modaks made of dry fruits and numerous other rare fruits are available in the market.

Ganesh Chaturthi and Environmental Concern

Ganesh Festival is also attracting a lot of criticism from environmentalists and nature lovers primarily due to pollution caused by the use of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP). Hinduism and Nature are so entwined that one cannot be separated from another. Ganesha itself is a classic example. But still, we Hindus do little to stop pollution. At least we can stop creating more pollution in the name of Ganesha by only buying natural Ganesh idol and natural items for Ganesh Puja.

Visarjan - Ganpati Bappa Moraya – Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya 

The symbolic meaning of Ganesh Chaturthi festival is that Lord Ganesha comes and stays with us. The immersion symbolizes his return from the earth after removing the obstacles and unhappiness of his devotees.

Some families perform the ceremony on the very next day. It is believed that Ganesha comes and stays in the idol for a day and returns the next day.

There are other families which perform the Ganesh immersion or Visarjan on the 1.5 days, 3rd, 5th, 7th or the 10th day.

In Maharashtra, Ganesha is also bid adieu along with Jyeshta Gauri (5th day)

Today, many people choose the least crowded day to immerse the Ganesh idol.

Those who opt for an eco-friendly Ganesh immersion, do it in a bucket or a tank. In Mumbai, artificial lakes are created to avoid water pollution. This year the governments and NGOs are running a strong campaign for the use of eco-friendly Ganesh idols.

For public pandals, it is a 10-day festival and ends on Anant Chaturdashi - the fourteenth day during the waxing phase of moon in Bhadrapad Month.

The procession can last for more than 24 hours.

The murti is taken to sea, lake or river for immersion.

The air is filled with the chant of Ganpati Bappa Moraya – Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya – come back soon next year

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