The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is all set to begin on 10 September. The ten-day festival, which is held to mark the birth of Lord Ganesh, is celebrated every year with great pomp and vigour.
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to large-scale celebrations in many parts of the country this year, devotees can still perform some key rituals at their homes. Here are some of the 16 rituals, broadly classified as four key rituals, which are performed during the festival:
Avahana and Pran Pratishtha
This is the step devotees perform after they have done the ‘Deep-Prajwalan’ and ‘Sankalpa’. A ritual to consecrate the Ganesh idol at home or in the temple or pandal, the god is reverentially invited and life is invoked in the idol by reciting mantras.
This is the ritual of 16-step puja taken from the Sanskrit words shodasha,’ meaning 16, and upachara, which means ‘devoutly offering the lord’. Once the idol has been established and its feet washed, it is bathed in milk, ghee, curd, honey, sugar (panchamrit snan). This is followed by bathing the idol in scented oil and gangajal.
New clothes are offered to the idol in a ceremony, along with unbroken rice (Akshata), flowers, sindoor, chandan, and garlands. The idol is decked in all finery and is worshipped by offering betel leaves, modaks, and coconuts (naivedya) to it. Incense sticks and diyas are lighted and mantras are chanted for worshipping Lord Ganesh.
The ritual is performed before Visarjan. People celebrate by singing, dancing and lighting fireworks. With mantras, flowers, and aarti, the idol is worshipped for the final time as devotees bid farewell to Lord Ganesh. The puja is performed in the sequence of Niranjan aarti, Pushpanjali Arpan and Pradakshina.
In the final ritual of the festival, the Ganesh idols are immersed into water bodies as people wish for the god to return next year.