Ganesh Chaturthi, 2022, will be celebrated from August 31 till September 9 with great pomp and show, in every nook and corner of India. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most celebrated festivals in the country with the most iconic places to visit during this occasion. Ganesh Chaturthi is also associated with the name ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ which also means the same. ‘Vinayaka’ is another name given to Lord Ganesh, with most people also calling him ‘Bappa’. In this 10-day festival, people from all across the country bring home idols of Lord Ganesha for a specific period of time, ranging from day 1 to day 10.
The origin of this festival is laid down in the Maratha reign and was started by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The belief of this festival is such that it marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. The celebration of this festival begins from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi and lasts till Anant Chaturdashi, marking the 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Homes, offices, and streets are decorated with flowers and decorative items and the Ganesha idol is adorned with gold and silver ornaments. During the Ganesh Utsav, various mantras and aartis are chanted, believing that it brings life to the idol. It is also believed that while bringing ‘Bappa’ home, the idol is quite light and during the time of ‘Visarjan’, the idol becomes heavy. The reason and the belief behind this are that during the 10-day period, Bappa is offered lots of his favorite dishes, food, and sweets, which includes Modak, and the idol becomes heavy as he is fulfilled from the food offering.
Modak is a sweet dish and is the favorite sweet of Bappa. It is offered to him during the festival. Other than Modak, various sweets are offered such as laddoo, karanji, pede, etc.
During these 10 days, people cook vegetarian food and offer it to Bappa as ‘Bhog’ every day until Anant Chaturdashi, which is the last day of the 10-day festival during which the idol is immersed in a sea, river, or water body. The immersion is known as ‘Ganesh Visarjan’. All the days of Ganesh Chaturthi are memorable and joyous with music and dhols being played and heard throughout the streets of India, with the rituals and ‘aartis’ being made during the 10 days.
The story behind ‘Ganesh Visarjan’ is that during the last day of the festival, ‘Bappa’ returns to his home – Mount Kailash, joining his parents – Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Moreover, the whole festival and 10-day celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, right from bringing home the Ganesh idol and immersing it in the water marks the life cycle, from birth to death. People also believe that when the Ganesh idol is immersed in water, it takes away all the obstacles and impurities with him, leaving positive energy, happiness, and joy behind. All the problems and negative energy is destroyed in the water during the Visarjan.
During the day of Anant Chaturdashi, the country witnesses a mass audience coming on the streets to bid adieu to Lord Ganesha. He is bid goodbye to his devotees by singing and dancing throughout the way until immersion.