Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi

For foreigners who are coming into Indian families for the first time, the plethora of festivals and how to celebrate them can be overwhelming. Tomorrow, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated and it kicks off an entire Fall season of festivals, followed by Navaratri, Durga pooja, Diwali, Dussehra, among others (depending on your family). Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated grandly in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

Ganesh Chaturthi is my favorite personal festival, because I can celebrate it within the privacy of my home and quietly, peacefully celebrating my own spirituality. Ganesh is also my favorite Hindu God and the one I feel most connected to. Ganesh is the God who removes obstacles and also enhances intelligence - it is a big festival for students of all walks of life. The image of Ganesh is said to absorb all negativity in the household.

Poojas are easy to perform by yourself - you do not need a priest or even a born Hindu to be there along with you. All you need to do is pray in your own way. Remember that faith and devotion is more important than how the rituals are performed. The only thing you need to be mindful of is to take a bath before presenting yourself to the God.

The first thing about celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi at home is that you need a clay Ganesh idol to place in your home, on some kind of raised platform. The Ganesh idol should always face West, with it's back to the East.

First thing in the morning, before sunrise, in the Brahmamuhurta time (start anywhere between 3:30-5:30am) meditate in front of Ganesh and invoke the God with some incense. You can read the stories where Ganesh is featured. You can play Ganesh mantras, or recite the 108 Ganesh salutations, or read the Ganesh Upanishads. If you are reciting mantras, you can start by chanting Prana Pratishta, which breathes life into the idol. After that, you can chant mantras like "Om Gan Ganapathaye".

(Ganesh mantra)

After that, you can offer him some coconut, sweets (modakam), medicinal leaves, grass, and red flowers. You can adorn his forehead with a vertical red line. Then, you can show him the aarti (light from candle or diya) along with a ringing of bells.

After that, you can say some personal prayers by ask him to remove any obstacles and to bring you wisdom and knowledge. If you are studying, you can also offer him your books to bless.

In the days afterwards, you would do the submerging on the 1st or 3rd day (but it should not be done on a Friday or Tuesday). You would submerge the idol into a bowl of water, along with some coins and flowers - the significance of this is to purify and eliminate negative energies. The clay idol would dissolve into the water as it would dissolve any negativity.

!! गणपति बाप्पा मोरया !
!! मंगल मूर्ति मोरया !!


Dear readers, do you celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi? 


  1. Your husband is a brahmin and being married to him means you are brahmin too.So yes you can perform the puja.Well just kidding.There is no place for casteism in hindu religion.According to the scripture discriminating any one by birth is a sin.But any way tamil brahmins are famous for their excessive brilliancy in studys so i guess your daughter will most likely be an doctor or scientist.

    1. I am not a brahmin and will never be. Neither will my daughter. I don't believe in caste. I don't believe that Brahmins are more talented than anybody else. And my daughter will be whatever she wants to be when she grows up.

    2. The word brahmin is totally misinterpretted voth in medival times and modern times. Brahmin simply means the person who is seeking the supreme truth which is realise that everything is God and God and I are same. FYI Ramayana was written by Valmiki who transformed himself spiritually from being a forest dacoit. Vishwamitra, the sage who presented the Gayatri mantra was a king, in recent times sant Tukaram, Gora Kumbhar, Meerabai, Soordas, Sant Kabir,Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Sheik Chinna Maulana, and many more are not brahmins by birth but they attained something beyond which is nectarine and purest. Raavana was a brahmin and a great devotee of SHiva, a great scholar who wrote Shiva Tandava Stotram but paid with his life because of his lust

  2. Yes! We celebrate. But for us it's a major family festival. So huge gathering of family in 1 flat. It is like Christmas. :)


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