Vighnahartha Ganesha or Vinayaka, is known as the Lord of auspicious beginnings and also as the remover of obstacles. Devotees pray to him before beginning important tasks for a smooth and successful completion of their tasks. He is also the first deity that people pray to in their daily puja.
The elephant-faced deity is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and the elder brother of Lord Murugan (Kartikeya).
Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi/Vinayaka Chavithi) is a popular festival celebrated to welcome Lord Ganesha to earth from Mount Kailash. It falls on the fourth day after the new moon in the Bhadrapada month (August/September) of the Hindu calendar. Historically, the origin of Ganesh Chaturthi festivities is linked to noted freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Often referred to as Lokmanya Tilak, he is said to have popularized this festival in Maharashtra. Today, it is undoubtedly the state’s biggest festival celebrated in Ganpati pandals across every nook and corner for 10 days. This trend spread to the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the past few decades.
Neighbourhood mandals or associations get together about a month before the festival to solicit donations from neighbours to order a Ganesha statue, hire pandals, lights, speakers, decoration items and arrange Modak, Prasad (bhog), etc. Usually, every family purchases clay or coloured idols of the deity as per their family tradition. Of course, some households are open to bringing home trendy idols every year. It is customary to also buy an umbrella, Dhruva grass (dhoob) and flower garlands to decorate the deity.
After performing the Ganesh Chaturthi Puja, devotees offer locally available fruits, Modak, Kheer and Laddoos to the deity.
When is Vinayaka Chaturthi this year? This year, Ganesh Chaturthi falls on Wednesday 31 August,2022.