Sankasthi Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The day is also known as Sankata Hara Chaturthi and falls on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha in every lunar month of the Hindu calendar. The Chaturthi that falls on Tuesday is called as Angaraki Sankashti Chaturthi and is considered highly auspicious. Angarika Chaturthi occurs once or twice a year and is celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm by the devotees of Lord Ganesha. It is believed that those who observe the fast on this day gets the benefits as those obtained by observing Sankashti Chaturthi throughout the year. The literal meaning of ‘Angarki’ is red or burning coal and hence red coloured clothes are often worn by devotees.
On Angarki Chaturthi devotees observe strict vrat and worship an idol or image of Lord Ganesha followed by an ‘aarti’. ‘Modak’, the favorite food of trunk, is prepared, offered and distributed among the devotees. The vrat is observed without consuming a single grain of food. While some observe partial fast by consuming fruits and snacks made with sabudana. The vrat ends after the sighting of the moon and performing puja of Lord Ganesha. There is also a tradition of worshiping the Moon God on this day. Devotees read ‘Ganpati Atharvashesha’ and recite religious hymns on this day in praise of Lord Ganesha. Observing fast on the day helps to reduce problems as Lord Ganesha symbolises the remover of obstacles and supreme lord of intelligence.
According to a legend, Angarak, the son of Mother Earth and Bharadwaj Rishi, was a devotee of Lord Ganesha. Once Lord Ganesha blessed him and asked him that his wish will be fulfilled. Angarak expressed that he should be associated with Lord Ganesha’s name forever. Ganesha granted him the wish that those worshipping Ganesha on Angarika Chaturthi will be granted all that he/she asks for.
- On Angarki Chaturthi, devotees wake up early, take a bath and worship idol or image of Lord Ganesha, followed by the ‘aarti’.
- Hymns and mantras dedicated to Lord Ganesha are chanted. There is also a tradition to read ‘Ganpati Atharvashesha’ on Angarki Chaturthi.
- Devotees observe strict vrat on the day. Devotees observe the fast without eating a single grain of food. While some observe partial fast by eating fruits and food allowed to eat during the fast.
- Consuming alcohol and tobacco are strictly prohibited.
- In the evening after the moon rise, ‘Modak’ are offered to the lord and distributed among the devotees.
- The fast is broken only after sighting the moon in the evening.
- Lord Ganesha is offered his favourite food ‘Modak’. For the uninitiated, Modak is a popular sweet which consists of freshly grated coconut and jaggery. The outer shell is prepared with rice or wheat flour. Modak is either fried or steamed.
- Ganesha puja is incomplete without ‘Durva’ grass. The grass which has three nodes are considered auspicious and are offered to the lord while offering prayers.
Tithi – December 25
Moonrise: 9:03 pm
Chaturthi tithi begins: 1:47 pm on December 25, 2018
Chaturthi tithi ends: 10:46 am on December 26, 2018