Why is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated for 11 Days?

Commemorating the birthday of our favorite Lord Ganpati, Ganesh Chaturthi is a symbol of new beginnings, positivity, and abundance. Celebrated as ‘Vinayaka Chavithi or Vinayak Chaturthi’, this festival is observed in the month of Bhadrapada (August-September). This festival begins on the Shukla Chaturthi - the fourth day of the waxing moon and lasts for ten long days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi. This year, Ganesh Chaturthi begins on 10th September 2021, and Anant Chaturdashi falls on 19th September 2021.

This elephant-head deity known by 108 different names is worshiped worldwide for wisdom, prosperity, science, and knowledge. He who is the preserver of all the good things and Remover of Vighna or bad omens or obstructions comes with a motto “Shubh Laabh,” which refers to Good Prospect and Good Prosperity.

History of the Auspicious Ganesha Festival

According to the historical records, Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated by the renowned Maratha King, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, in public (Sarvajanik). The Ganpati idol was first installed by Bhausaheb Laxman Javale. However, to bridge the gap between the non-Brahmins and the Brahmins, the social reformer, freedom fighter, and an Indian nationalist, Bal Gangadhar Lokmanya Tilak changed the private celebration of the festival to a grand public event.

Right from soil or clay Ganpati idols to fresh flowers and Ganesh Chaturthi pooja Samagri, this festival included chanting of mantras, Aartis, etc. With a motive to unite the people of all castes in striving against British rule, this National Festival was celebrated with a motive of ‘the god for Everyman.’

The Celebration of The Festival

Days before the auspicious festival, devotees clean their house, puja space, and the surroundings. Along with placing an order for Ganesh idols online for Ganesh Chaturthi, devotees make arrangements for decorations, installing Chowki, pandals, lighting setups, etc. Every day of the festival includes specific rituals and celebrations, and it is important to worship the Lord for 11 days to invoke His blessings.

Performing four important rituals: Prana Pratishtha, Shhodashopachara, Uttar Puja, and Ganpati Visarjan, completes the 11 days and requires all the Ganesh Chaturthi pooja Samagri. It begins with the customary practice of Prana Pratishtha, where the idol is infused with life with the chanting of the holy mantras and invoking the Lord by the Pandit.

Followed by Prana Pratishtha, devotees light Diyas, lamps, and Agarbattis. Next comes the Shhodashopachara Puja, which is a way of paying tribute to the Lord. Soon after this, red and yellow flowers, Durva grass, red sandalwood paste, and 21 Modaks which are the most favorite food of the Lord, are offered amid the Vedic hymns.

Furthermore, Uttar Puja is a ritual where the Lord Ganpati is bid a farewell after 11 long days with great devotion and deep respect. Then, accompanied by singing, dancing, burning of crackers, Dhol-Tasha, and chanting of the devotional mantras is the Ganpati Visarjan carried out. This ritual signifies the birth cycle of Ganpati Bappa, and hence the Ganesh idol is immersed in the local river, sea, or well.

Though extending Lord Ganpati’s stay seems heartwarming to the devotees, skipping the Visarjan ritual is not an option. It is so that the power of the idol is infused with the chanting of mantras and performing rituals for ten consecutive days is unbearable by any human being.

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