Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: History, significance, date and time of the festival
Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: Lord Ganesha symbolises wisdom, good luck and fortune. Lord Ganesha is also called Gajanana, Ganesh, Gajadant, that are among his 108 names.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated annually to mark the birth of Lord Ganesha, the God of new beginnings and a fresh start. The festival falls in the month of Bhadra, according to the Hindu calendar and in August/September according to the Gregorian calendar. This year, the ten-day celebrations will begin on August 22. Lord Ganesha is considered to be a symbol of wisdom, writing, travel, commerce and good fortune. He is also addressed as Gajanana, Ganesh, Gajadant that are among his 108 names.
Legend tells the tale of Goddess Parvati who made baby Ganesha using sandalwood paste and asked him to guard the entrance while she took a bath. When Lord Shiva wanted to enter, Ganesha would not even allow him to pass through. Lord Shiva, enraged by this, severed the child’s head. When Goddess Parvati realised what had happened, she was overwhelmed and heartbroken. This is when Lord Shiva promised that he would bring baby Ganesha back to life. He went on to instruct his followers (ganas) to search for the head of the first living creature they could find to replace on Ganesha’s body. However, the ganas could only find a baby elephant’s head. That is how Lord Ganesha came back to life with the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva named him the leader of the ganas, or Ganapati.
The excitement for this 10-day long festival begins weeks before Ganesh Chaturthi, with several people making clay idols of Lord Ganesha and painting them. There is more consciousness in terms of organic choices for the Ganpati idol, as the erstwhile methods have been found to deeply affect marine life and pollute the environment.
A Mumbai-based group is offering an alternative to Plaster of Paris (PoP) via seed balls placed inside Ganesh idols that can grow into plants after immersion. Sprouts Environment Trust, since 2015, has run an initiative called God Save the Ocean using ingredients such as corn and vegetable powder in idol-making that can easily dissolve in sea water and get consumed by marine organisms. The idols are organically-coloured with substances such as turmeric, chandan and geru (coloured soil) to protect the aquatic biodiversity. These eco-initiatives are also being followed in Indore and Lucknow where Ganpati idols have been made using tulsi seeds, giloy and more.
Other initiatives include Chocolate Ganesha, proceeds of which are often distributed amidst the underprivileged.
Originally, Ganesh Chaturthi is known to be celebrated in a large way in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, but the festival and festivities have spread far and wide, with devotees celebrating in other parts of the country with equal fervour.
The festival begins with Pranapratishhtha, which consists of the chanting of mantras by a priest. Offerings which are known to be loved by Lord Ganesha are placed infront of his idol. These include modak, shrikhand, payasam, coconut rice, motichoor laddoo and other sweets.
Devotees throng to temples and special pandals set up for Ganesh Chaturthi to pay their respects to the Lord Ganesha. People also sometimes choose to bring Ganpati home ahead of the festival and host him for the 10-day festivities.
On the tenth day, Lord Ganesha’s statue is immersed in water, known as Ganpati Visarjan. Devotees chant Ganapati Bappa Morya, paying respect to him as he is seen off, taking all our worries away and leaving blessings behind.
This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has introduced a one-ward-one-Ganpati concept to maintain social distancing. Public celebrations for Ganeshotsav are barred in New Delhi this year.
Ganesh Chaturthi date, time
Ganesh Chaturthi date: August 22, 2020
Ganesha Visarjan Date: September 01, 2020