In this article, we have published an Essay on Ganesh Chaturthi, Its Importance, History, Celebration, Food and Its impact on the environment.
Ganesh Chaturthi Festival (Vinayak Chaturthi)
Ganesh Chaturthi, popularly known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a festival of Hindu which is celebrated on the occasion of the coming of Lord Ganesha from ‘Kailash Parvat’ with his mother, Goddess Parvati / Gauri. The festival is marked by the installation of Ganesh clay figures in homes either privately or publicly with elaborated pandals (temporary steps), including Vedic hymns and Hindu scriptures, prayers, and chanting of vrata (fasting).
The offerings and prasadam, from the daily prayers that will be delivered to the community from Pandal, are sweets like Modak as they are believed to be a favorite of Ganesh. The festival ends on the tenth day of the festival, with the statue carrying music and crowd chants in an open procession, then submerged in a river or sea.
Annually, Mumbai drowns around 150,000 statues alone. It is believed that the clay idol will dissolve, and the Lord Ganesha will return to Kailash Mountain to Parvati and Shiva. The festival celebrates Ganesha as the god of new beginnings and the god of knowledge and wisdom.
It is celebrated all over India, especially in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat and Gujarat in general. It is also prevalent, and the people from Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, the United States, and Europe.
It is not known when the festival began. After the Mughal-Maratha War, it became a major social and public event with the sponsorship of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It became popular again in the 19th century following the general appeal of Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak.
Celebration in India
In India, Ganesha Chaturthi is predominantly a well-celebrated festival in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Goa and the southern states of Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha.
At famous temples
The annual Brahmots are celebrated for 21 days from the day of Lord Ganesha’s death at the Varsidhi Vinayaka Swamy Temple in Aparkam, Andhra Pradesh. The Goddess of destruction is nowadays taken as a procession on a large number of pilgrims across the country.
Ganesh is a national ceremony on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra’s home.
At houses in Maharashtra, families set up small clay statues for worship during the festival. In the morning and evening, they are worshiped with flowers, durva (young straw strands), karanji, and modak (jaggery and coconut flakes wrapped in rice flour dumplings). The worship ends with Aarti singing in honor of Lord Ganesha and other gods and saints.
Samarth Ramdas sang “Sukhkarta Dukkhartha”, a Marathi song composed by a 17th-century saint in Maharashtra. Family traditions differ as to when the ceremony will be finished. At that time, many figures are ceremonially brought to a body of water (like lake, river, or sea) for immersion.
In Maharashtra, the Ganeshotsavam also includes the Hartalika and Gauri festivals, with women fasting the day before the Ganesh Chaturthi, by setting up Gauri’s statues. In some communities like Chitpawan and SKP, pebbles collected from riverbank symbolizes as the representation of Gauri.
In Goa, Ganesh Chaturthi is called Chavat in Konkani and is called Parab or Parva (“Good Friday”); it begins on the third day of the Bhadrapada lunar month. On this day, Parvati and Lord Shiva are worshiped by women by fasting. During rituals, devotees play instruments such as ghumots, crash symbols (Konkani tal), and pakhawaj (Indian barrel-shaped, two-headed drum).
Crop Festival, Navayachi Pancham, celebrated the next day; freshly harvested rice is brought home from farms (or temples) for performing pujas. Usually, seafood associations refrain from doing so during the festival.
The Gauri festival in Karnataka precedes Ganesha Chaturthi and people across the state with each other. In Andhra Pradesh, Ganesha Murthy (clay Vinayak) of clay and yellow (siddhi Vinayaka) or peare usually worshiped at home in Plaster of Paris.
Public members fund the event from community members, residents, and businesses. The Ganesha statues and their accompanying statues are set up in makeshift shelters, known as mandapas or pandals. On the eve of the festival, many cultural activities such as singing, theater, and orchestra performance are staged, and free medical check-ups, donations to the poor are also done.
Ganesh Chaturthi, along with its religious aspects, is an essential economic activity in Mumbai, Surat, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kurnool. From the festival, many artists, industries, and businesses earn a significant amount of their lives, making it a platform for aspiring artists. Members of other religions also participate in the ceremony.
In Tamil Nadu, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Pillaiyar Chaturthi, the festival comes on the fourth day after the new moon of Āvaṇi in the Tamil calendar. Statues are usually made of clay or papier-mache because the state government has banned plaster of Paris statues. There has been a report to violate this rule. They worship for many days in Pandals and indulge in the Bay of Bengal the following Sunday.
In Kerala, this festival is known as Lambudhara Pirunas which falls on the month of Chimbam In Thiruvananthapuram, the procession raged from the Pajavangadi Ganapathi temple to Shanmukham beach where the idols of Ganesha and milk made from organic materials were sunk in the sea.
Ceremony outside India
Shri Maharashtra Panchayat runs Ganesh Chaturthi in Pakistan for Maharashtras in Karachi.
Ganesha Chaturthi is a British Hindu population living in the UK. The Southall-based Hindu Culture and Heritage Society celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi at the Vishwa Hindu Temple in London in 2005, and the statue was drowned in the River Thames at Putney Pier.
Another event hosted by the Gujarati team was held in Southend-on-Sea and attracted about 18,000 devotees. In Liverpool, people organize annual celebrations on the River Mersey.
The Philadelphia Ganesha Festival is one of the most famous celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi in North America. The ceremony takes place in Canada (especially in the Toronto area), Mauritius, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The Mauritius festival dates back to 1896, and the Mauritius government has made it a public holiday. In Malaysia and Singapore, the festival is commonly called Vinayagar Chaturthi because of the Tamil-speaking Hindu minorities.
Ganesh Chaturthi remains a major Hindu religious festival in Metropolitan France. The first Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesh in Continental France was opened in 1985, and the first procession was in 1995. Since then, every year, La Chapelle Quarters in Paris has witnessed a significant procession with thousands of pilgrims and visitors.
The Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan society mainly runs the organization, and the pilgrims are mostly Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka and partly Hindus from Mauritius.
The main dish of the festival is Modak, a popular sweet dish. Modak is a steamed or fried dumpling made with rice or wheat flour, filled with grated coconut, jaggery, dried fruit, and other condiments.
Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karzakai in Kannada), which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but is semi-circular. This delicious meal is called Nevri in Goa and is synonymous with the Ganesh festival in Goa and Konkani diaspora.
In the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, sweets like Laddoo, Modak, Wundrols (coarse ground rice-flour balls which are steamed), Cinnamon (a drink made of jaggery-, black pepper- and cardamom-flavored), Vaddappappu (soaked moong lentils), and chaliyavidam are made and given to Ganesha.
These offerings are called niveeda, and Modak’s plate is traditionally composed of 21 pieces of sweets. In Goa, Goa’s version of Modak and Idli (Sanna) is widespread.
In some parts of Karnataka, Panchakajaya is a consecration to Lord Ganesha during the festival. It is a blend of desiccated coconut, roasted Bengal gram powder, sugar, ghee, and sesame. Devotees make various versions of the Panchakajjaya.
The Madras High Court ruled in 2004 that the immersion of Ganesh idols is illegal because it contains chemicals that pollute the seawater. The state government has banned the sale of plaster-of-Paris Ganesha statues in Goa, and the celebrations have encouraged the purchase of traditional, artisan-made clay statues.
The Pollution Control Board sponsored recent initiatives to produce traditional clay Ganesha statues in Hyderabad.
Due to environmental concerns, many families now avoid water bodies, and the mud statue breaks down in barrel water at home. A few days later, the soil spread in the garden. In some cities, the immersion takes as a public, environmentally friendly process.