Vinayagar Chaturthi in 2017
Vinayagar Chaturthi or Ganesha Chaturthi festival is celebrated passionately amongst the people of India to commemorate Lord Ganesha's birthday. People have named Ganesha as per their language and region. However, their zeal and gusto remains same. It is really a beautiful festival that lasts for ten days, and takes the celebrators to some mesmerizing spiritual world. Let's know more by reading this article to feel the pleasure of this festival.
Vinayagar Chaturthi in 2017 is falling on August 25, Friday. South Indians worship Lord Ganesha as Lord Vinayagar or Pillaiyar on this day, whereas, North Indians celebrate it as Ganesha Chaturthi. Vinayagar Chaturthi is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayagar Chaturthi at some regions of South India. However, the main thing is that it is all about our Lord Ganesha's birthday.
According to the Tamil calendar, Vinayagar Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of Aavani on the 4th day after new moon and known as 'Avanai-Valarpirai Chaturthi'. Lord Vinayagar is widely worshipped as the supreme God of prosperity, good fortune and wisdom.
Vinayagar Chaturthi Celebration
Devotees celebrate this day by worshipping the idols of Lord Vinayaka made up of clay. These idols are placed at homes, shrines or streets to worship till the ten days of the festival. For worshipping the idol, a garland of Bael leaves and Bermudagrass are offered. Crown flower garland can also be used if available. Some people make the idols at home and some buy them from shops. Behind the idol, the worshippers put a small decorated umbrella to make him look more attractive. At some places, people place special small towels around Lord Ganesha. Vinayaka Stotram is recited during Vinayagar Puja and on the last day, that is 11th day, people immerse the idol in sea, river or canal by singing and dancing along the way.
Contemporary way of Vinayagar Chaturthi
Basically, the idols of Lord Ganesha enter the market two or three months before. Initially they used to be of clay, but now people make them with Plaster of Paris. However, due to concern of pollution people have started to switch over clay again. There are various poses available to depict lord Ganesha in the form of idols. The size of these idols may vary from 1/4 of an inch to 70 feets.
These statues are then placed at homes or at temporary pandals settled in every locality. After that, the priest invokes life to the statue by chanting mantra and this ritual is known as Prana Pratishtha. This is followed by the ritual called Shodashopachara, which is basically a 16 way method of paying tribute to the Lord Ganesha. With this, coconut, modaks, jaggery, red flowers and durva (trefoil) blades of grass are offered. Further, the idol is anointed with a red balm made up of kumkum and sandalwood paste. During this ten day ceremony, Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, Ganesh stotram from Narada Purana and Vedic hymns from Rig Veda are chanted. On the last day (11th day), Ganesha is immersed in water by the devotees. The immersion signifies a see-off to Lord Ganesha for his journey towards Kailasha with an invitation for the next year to come again. It is believed that Lord Ganesha remove the misfortunes of the worshippers during auspicious days of Ganesh Utsav. This ritual is known as Vinayaka Nimajjanam or Vinayaka Nimajjanam in South India, whereas, North Indians know it as 'Ganesh Visarjan'. In this final procession people shout, "Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya Varshi Laukar Ya", which means, "O Lord Ganesha, come again early next year." People from different region shout these lines in their regional languages.
Legend behind the celebration of Vinayagar Chaturthi
As per India's legendary stories, Lord Vinayagar is the son of Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. Parvati Maa created an idol by using Sandalwood paste used by her for taking shower and put life into it. The purpose behind it was to stand a guard at her door while she was taking shower. In the meantime, Lord Shiva entered the scene and tried to enter Maa Parvati's place. As the sandalwood made idol didn't know him, he didn't allow Lord Shiva to enter. This enraged Lord Shiva and led him cut his head. When he entered and realized the fact that the boy was his own son, Lord Shiva placed the head of a baby elephant because it was not possible to place his head again and named him Ganesha. Since then, Lord Ganesha has been worshipped on this day to commemorate his birth as an elephant-headed God.
After reading this content on Vinayagar Chaturthi, your senses must have aroused you to experience such a wonderful festival. This festival is not only about fun and frolic; various delicious dishes are also made. With this we hope you have a beautiful Vinayagar Chaturthi..!