Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, is a celebration that marks the birth of Lord Ganesha. The festival celebrates Ganesha as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles as well as the god of wisdom and intelligence. The ten-day festival resumes on the fourth day of Hindu lunisolar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in the months of August or September of the Gregorian calendar. The festival is marked by bringing home or in public places the idols of Ganesha and worshiping it. The festival is celebrated with much fervor in Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. In 2018, the ten-day festival begins on September 13 and ends on September 23. On Anant Chaturdashi, idols of Ganesha are immersed.
According to a legend, Goddess Parvati created little Ganesha using turmeric while having a bath and asked him to guard the door and not to allow anyone to enter the house. After a while, when Lord Shiva returned, Ganesha stopped him from entering. He didn’t allow Shiva to enter even after telling him that he is the husband of Parvati. An enraged Shiva asked his army to destroy the little boy but they didn’t succeed. After a heated argument, Shiva cut off the head of little Ganesha and threw it away using his trident. When Parvati learned about the incident she became furious and decided to destroy the entire universe if Ganesha was not brought to life again. Shiva asked Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, to get the head of the first creature that he comes across with its head facing the North. However, all they could bring was a head of a strong and a powerful elephant, which Shiva fixed on Ganesha’s body breathing new life into him.
Modak is the favourite food of the deity. The outer shell is made using rice flour/wheat flour/maida and the filling consists of freshly grated coconut and jaggery. The modak is either fried or steamed. It is called modak in Marathi, Gujarati, and Konkani, Modhaka in Kannada, Kudumu in Telugu and Kozhakkattai in Tamil.
Prohibition of moon sighting
It is a popular belief that one should not sight the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. Sighting the moon may result in Mithya Dosham or Mithya Kalank, meaning false accusation of stealing. Mithya Doshan literally translates to false accusation for wrongdoing. According to the myth, anyone who sights the moon on Shukla Chaturthi of Bhadrapada will be falsely accused of stealing because of Lord Ganesha’s curse to Lord Chandra.
According to Hindu division of the day, the time duration between sunrise and sunset is divided into five equal parts – Pratahkala, Sangava, Madhyahna, Aparahna, and Sayankal. It is believed that Lord Ganesha was born on Madhyana Kala and hence it is advised to perform puja rituals during Madhyahna, which is equivalent to mid-day.
Chaturthi tithi begins: September 12, at 4:07 pm
Chaturthi tithi ends: September 13, at 2:51 pm
Madhyahna Ganesha puja tithi: 11:03 am to 1:30 pm
Duration: 2 hours 27 minutes