Sankashti Chaturthi is an auspicious day for Hindus, celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesha. This day is observed in every lunar month of the Hindu calendar on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or the waning phase). This month it comes on Thursday that is June 20.
Rituals of Sankashti Chaturthi:
On Sankashti Chaturthi day, devotees get up early and dedicate the day worshipping Lord Ganesha. They observe a strict fast, some people can also keep a partial fast. The observer of this fast can only eat fruits, vegetables, and roots of plants. The staple Indian diet on this day comprises of peanuts, potatoes and sabudana khichadi.
Sankashti Chaturthi puja:
The puja for Sankashti Chaturthi in done in the evening after seeing the moon. The idol of Lord Ganesha is decorated with Durva grass and fresh flowers. A lamp is also lit during this time. Other usual puja rituals like lighting incense and reciting the Vedic mantras are also performed. After this the devotees read the ‘vrat katha’ specific to the month. The fast is broken only after worshipping Lord Ganesha in the evening and sighting of the moon. Special sweets or naivedya, including modaks, are offered to the deity during the puja. After the katha and aarti, these sweets are distributed as prasad.
On the day of Sankashti Chaturthi, special puja rituals are also dedicated to Moon or Chandra God. This involves sprinkling water, chandan (sandalwood) paste, consecrated rice and flowers in the direction of moon.
Significance of Sankashti Chaturthi:
On the sacred day of Sankashti Chaturthi there is a special significance in sighting the moon. The devotees of Lord Ganesha believe that by praying on Sankashti Chaturthi all their desires are fulfilled. Observing Sankashti Chaturthi fast is believed to reduce problems as Ganesha symbolizes the removal of all obstacles and supreme lord of intelligence. Before moonlight, the Ganapati Atharvasheersha is recited to invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesha. The Ganesha is the God of God's but there's no evidence to depict that fasting was a mandate by God.
Moonrise on Sankashti Chaturthi: 9:52 pm
Chaturthi tithi begins: 5.08 pm on June 20
Chaturthi tithi ends: 7.08 pm on June 21