Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in 2019 – The 10 Days Extravaganza Across India

Ganesh Chaturthi is the festival of the birth of the beloved Lord Ganesha. Ganesha aka Ganpathi idols is made or bought and kept as ‘prathishta’ or placement at homes. Ganesh Chaturthi goes by different names like Vinayaka Chaturthi, Ganpathi Mahotsav, Ganesha Utsav, Vinayagar Chaturthi, Ganesh Chauth, etc. Usually, 10 days is the span to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi but this festival is recorded to have the highest number of days and people involved in the festival with the whole month spanned into it. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated widely across the country & mostly in the Northern side of India. This year it is to take place on the 2nd of September with celebrations continuing all along September 12th which is the Ganesh visarjan date 2019. 

Celebration across India and the world

A feast is arranged during these days at home. People get together at friends or family’s homes during this time.  Mumbai is the place which is known to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi so widely. During the festival, the whole city is filled with Ganesh Chaturthi decorations like lights and lamps lit in temples, on the roads and during the installation of idols, etc. They have Ganesha idol contests where the biggest idol gets a cash price, the largest procession gets recognized by media and organizers are given a hearty welcome at their sabha’s.

Countries such as the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Philippines, United States, and Canada have wide celebrations by their Hindu Community groups there. Although not as huge as Indian celebrations they are widely covered by the media. It is also seen in some parts of these countries that people originally from these places help Indians make Ganesha idols from scratch with clay and turmeric. There are ritual songs played during Ganesh Chaturthi. People dance and sing along while playing instruments. This is a feast to watch. 

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Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mumbai

 In Mumbai, the last day is considered to be epic. The roads would be filled with Ganesha idols from pandals, temples, and homes. People from different parts of the world come to Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi just to watch the festival. The Ganesha idols are created months before the celebration. Clay artisans put so much effort into one idol that will be used from the procession till the immersion. The anecdote says that you may be cursed if you look at the moon during the previous day of the festival, as apparently, the moon laughed and made fun of Lord Ganpathi of his belly and fondness of eating sweets a lot. There would be many people singing, dancing and doing musical skits from the epic Mahabharata are lined up in parallel with the Lord Ganesha idols and immersed together into water bodies. Mumbai is said to be the place that immerses almost 2 lakh Ganesha idols on this day. The festival of praising Lord Ganesha starts with a procession done by groups of people at the streets from the early morning of the Chaturthi. This procession ends by immersing Ganesha idols into nearby water streams like ponds, lakes, rivers or the sea.

Sweets and other delicacies made especially for the festival

The famous dishes for Ganesh Chaturthi are Modaks steamed or fried, Motichoor ke ladoo, puran poli, sweet kachori, gujja, sev puri, ghee rice, badam ladoo, masala bhaat etc. In the houses, people make modaks which is sweet dumplings made out of rice or wheat flour with coconut and jaggery fillings. This is a non-stop festival and not celebrated only during one particular time of the day. During this period most of these people who celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi turn vegetarian.

Ganesh Chaturthi celebration at home

Ganesh Chaturthi preparation at home is done in a much silent way. They have Ganesh puja mantra performed during midday. This time it is very peaceful and you can see the family get together just for this festival. Prayers, celebrations, and immersion of deities are seen in every household.  Instead of immersing immediately after the puja, they preserve these Ganesh Chaturthi decoration idols at home itself till the visarjan day. These are mostly organically made out of clay and turmeric. They are worshipped with milk poured over the dry idols. Poojas and mantras are loudly chanted by members of the family. Homes offer food to the poor. There would be fresh flowers bought and made as garlands and placed over the Ganesha idols. These garlands are either made in house or bought from local vendors. In front of the houses on all 10 days, they make rangoli or kolam a design made by the women folks of the house in front of their houses as a good omen. This design is organically made with rice flour, curd, and water. No added colours hence the design is in white color. They have coconut stem, the baby coconut trees placed on either side of main doors and attached to a yellow marigold flower chain. This a very pretty sight to see. Guests coming during the festival time are considered godly and first greeted with scented water drops poured over them. Then they are offered the special dish made for god “prasadam”. Following which they are offered lunch after the pooja is over. Every member of the family gets to wear a new dress during the festival. Fruits are offered to the family by guests or other relatives getting together during the festival. Kids love Ganesha Chaturthi because every family member gifts them either as cash, special sweet boxes, and new dresses. Schools will be reopened only after the 11th day of Visarjan so it is a great time for kids and teachers in the family to have a family get together.

Places to go, things to purchase for the festival

The iconic temples to visit during Ganesh Chaturthi are: 

  • Pune Ashtavinayak Temple
  • Siddhivinayak Temple of Mumbai
  • Chinthaman temple of Ganesha at Ujjain
  • Kanipakam Vinayaka temple at Chittoor
  • Karpaka Vinayaka temple of Tirupattur

You can visit the numerous pandals across your town to see idols all different, unique & wonderful in their own way to seek the blessings of Lord Ganapathi.

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Just before the festival, you can see various offers in online, apparel markets, wholesale markets, supermarkets, etc. during Ganesh Chaturthi. Most of them offer a sale of 30% to 70 % at least. Ganesh Chaturthi Decoration items start with an off of 50% and people spend thousands of rupees buying them every year. As this fest is considered to be one in a year festival it is celebrated widely. The Ganesh visarjan date this year is on 12th September 2019.

Unity is one of the primary reasons why we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. It was started as a celebration to unite Brahmins to the non-Brahmins and nowadays we see that these idols are made irrespective of caste or creed. People want to be part of the celebration and do not look at it as a Hindu only festival. Ganesh Chaturthi is one fest that people cannot miss out, especially if you are part of the celebrating cities. 

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