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Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the most colorful and widely celebrated festivals in India.
Vinayaka Chaturthi, or Ganesh Chaturti, is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom, prosperity and auspiciousness in Hinduism. Lord Ganesha is today worshipped around the world and the elephant-faced Hindu god is one of the most popular deities in Hindu religion. The 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the idol on Ananta Chaturdasi day. Ganesh Chaturthi 2009 date is August 23.
Ganesh Chaturthi is observed on the fourth day after Amavasi (no moon) in the month of Bhadrapada (August - September) as per traditional Hindu calendar.
In Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi community festival is celebrated for 10 days. In other parts of India, it is celebrated for one day on the Ganesh Chaturthi day.
Hindu homes observe Ganesh Chaturthi festival for one or three days. Special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha.
In Maharashtra, Ganesh and Gauri Puja is observed during the same period.
In Karnataka, Gowri Habba or Swarna Gouri Vrata is observed a day before Ganesh Chaturthi.
Large number of people observe Ganesha Chaturthi poojas at home. Here is an explanation on how to perform Ganesha puja at home as mentioned in Hindu scriptures.
Ganesha puja on the Chaturthi day is usually performed at noon but nowadays people perform it when all the family members are present.

• A Clay image of Lord Ganesha.
• Red flowers
• Druva Grass blades
• Modak (jaggery filled sweet)
• Coconut
• Red chandan (Sandalwood paste)
• Incense and agarbathis
• First clean the house and take a bath.
• A Clay image of Lord Ganesha is installed in a raised platform.
• Pray to Lord Ganesh and you can recite mantras or bhajans dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
• Next step is to invoke Ganesha into the image. This is known as pran-prathishta. The Pran Prathista mantra in Sanskrit to be invoked is found in the Rig Veda and is part of Ganesh Suktha.
ganananh tva ganapatim havamahe kavim kavinam - upamashravastamam |
jyeshhtharajam brahmanan.h brahmanaspata A nah shrivnvannutibhih sida sadanam || (Rig Veda 2.23.1)
ni shhu sida ganapate ganeshhu tvamahurvipratamam kavinam |
na rite tvat.h kriyate kinchanare mahamarkam maghavan.h chitramarcha || (Rig Veda 10.112.9)
We invoke You, O Ganapati of the ganas (Lord Shiva attendants), Who are Brahmana-spati of the brahmas (prayers), the wisest among the wise, Who abound in treasure beyond all measure, the most brilliant one. Do listen to our prayers, come with Your blessings and assurances of protection into our home, and be seated. (Rig Veda 2.23.1)
Sit down among the worshippers, O Ganapati, the best sage among the sages. Without You nothing can be done here or far. Accept with honor, O wealthy One, our great and variegated hymns of praise. (Rig Veda 10.112.9)
• Now Ganesha is installed in the idol and one can perform arati and light the lamps. Some people perform the shhodashopachara, which are 16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha. (This ritual is usually performed by the priests, you can skip this.)
• Offer 21 blades of Druva Grass.
• Offer 21 modakas
• Offer red flowers
• Apply a tilak using red Sandalwood paste.
• Break the coconut or just keep it along with the idol. You can also keep fried grains. (The food of the rat – the vehicle of Ganesha).
• You can also recite the 108 salutations dedicated to Lord Ganesha or read the Ganesha Upanishad or just simply pray.
The number 21 signifies - the five organs of perception, five organs of action, five vital airs (pranas), five elements, and the mind.
While performing Ganesha Puja at home, you can always be flexible. The strict rituals are meant for Vedic priests. All you need be careful is to perform the pujas with a clean body and clean mind.
Do not get carried away by rituals – what is important is self realization. Realizing the Brahman in you. Each puja performed should be a step forward in Self realization.
As the ancient portions of the revealed scriptures state, the original rituals were a simple means of channeling one's devotion toward the divine. They did not require help from priests and clergy. However due to ignorance, laziness, or the tendency to lean on others, aspirants want their rituals to be done by someone else, namely a priest. In order to display their expertise and impress their clients, priests elaborate the rituals, causing them to become riddled by dogma and superstition – Adi Shankaracharya

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