Vinayaka Chavithi, also called as Ganesh Chaturthi and Vinayak Chaturthi, is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of God Vinayaka or Ganesha or Ganapati . Vinayaka is considered as the god of wisdom, wealth and knowledge. God Vinayaka occupies an important position in the Hindu Mythology. Before observing any Vratham or performing any puja or starting any new work one should perform Vinayaka puja (Pasupu Ganapathi pooja), so that there would be no vighnas (obstacles) during the pooja/Vratham/work. Devotees believe that lord Vinayaka comes to earth during this festival.
Who is Lord Vinayaka
Lord Vinayaka, is the son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Vinayaka is the elder brother of Lord Subhramanya or Muruga or Karthikeya. God Vinayaka is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom and prosperity. Vinayaka is a Hindu God with an elephant head, Human body and fat belly. The Vehicle of Vinayaka is Mushika (Rat). Vinayaka is also knowns as Vignesha (i.e the Remover of Obstacles) or Ganadhipa.
Vinayaka Chavithi 2017 Date
Ganesh Chaturthi Date, Vinayaka Chaturhti Date
Vinayaka Chavithi is observed on Shukla Paksha Chaturthi of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada or Bhadrapada sukla Chavithi. If Chaturthi tithi prevails for two days, On the first day Vinayaka Chavithi festival should be observed. This year, vinayaka Chavithi festival falls on Friday, 25th August, 2017. In western and Southern parts of India, this festival is observed for 10 days, ending on the day of Anant Chaturdashi (i.e on 27th September 2015).
Vinayaka Chavithi Story
Legend of Vinayaka Chavithi, Vinayaka Chavithi Katha
According to Vinayaka Chavithi Story, God Ganesha or Vinayaka was created by goddess Parvati, Wife of Lord Shiva. Parvati Devi created Vinayaka out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the idol. You can read complete story of Vinayaka Birth here.
It is a custom to hear Vinayaka Chavithi Story or Vinayaka Chavithi Vrat Katha after the completion of puja. This includes Story of Gajasura, Vinayaka birth, Vinayaka as Vignadhipathi, Story of Saptarshi and Shamantaka Mani (Shamantakopakyanam).
Vinayka Chavithi Celebrations
On this auspicious Vinayaka Chavithi Day, people buy clay idols of Lord Vinayaka or some would prefer preparing the idol on their own from clay. People clean and decorate their houses to welcome Lord Vinayaka or Ganesha. A few devotees observe fast on Vinayaka Chavithi and perform puja in their houses. God is offered home made sweets as Naivedyam. The Naivedyam shall include Undrallu and Kudumullu or any one the two. All the family members wear new clothes and Sing Devotional Songs of Lord Vinayaka.
The preparation of idols of Lord Vinayaka are made 2-3 months prior to the day of Vinayaka Chavithi. It is a practice in India to install the Idols of Lord Ganesha at public places and colonies. People would buy the idols which are made from plaster of paris or mud just before Vinayaka Chavithi.The size of the idol of Lord Vinayaka may vary from an inch to over 50 feet. On the day of the festival, Vinayka idol is installed on raised platforms at open places in the colonies or roads. The pendals and the surroundings of the pendals in which the idol of Lord Ganesha is put on display are highly decorated. Clay Ganesh (Matti Vinayakudu) and Turmeric Ganapathi (Pasupu Ganapathi) is worshiped at homes along with plaster of paris Vinayaka.
Vinayaka Chavithi Puja Vidhanam
The local priest (usually dressed in white or red dhoti and uttariyam), the priest would make Vigraha pratistapana by chanting mantras. After this Shodashopachara puja is performed. In this Puja Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered. It is a ritual to worship Lord Ganesha or Lord Vinayaka with 21 different kind of leaves and this is called Eka Vimsathi Puja.
For complete puja Vidhanam Click here. During this Puja ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.
Vinayka Chavithi Naivedyam
In Andhra Pradesh, kudumulu, Vundrallu, Panakam, Vadapappu, Chalividi, etc., are offered to Vinayka. These offerings to god are called Naivedyam. Kudumu is called modak in Marathi, modaka in Kannada and modagam in Tamil.
Vinayaka Chavithi Recipes
A festival dedicated to Lord Vinayaka will always be incomplete without Festival special Recipes. There is a large variety of recipes made on this occasion, with the most popular things are Undrallu and Kudumulu.
After worshiping Lord Ganesha or Lord Vinayaka for 10 days the idols are immersed in a nearby lake or river or pond on Ananth Chaturdasi. On the day of immersion a Van or an auto or lorry is contracted depending on the size of the idol of Lord Ganesha. The Lorry or auto is used for transporting the idol of Lord Ganesha or Lord Vinayaka to the lake or pond where it is to be immersed. The auto is decorated with flowers and all other possible electrical lightning. A ritual called Utti breaking is performed. After the Utti is broken the procession will start. Devotees would contract local bands to play before the vehicle and devotees would sing and dance to the music in front of the vehicle. The vehicle is taken around the colony and also through different routes in the city before it finally reaches the pond. Devotees would continue to sing and dance until they reach the pond. At the pond they would lift the idol and immerse it in the Pond.
History of Vinayaka Chavithi
Vinayaka Chavithi festival managed to re-establish the unity among the Indians during British Era. Vinayaka Chavithi was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Pune city of Maharashtra state to bring about unity. Vinayaka Chavithi till the time Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the social celebration was a home festival and everyone used to celebrate Vinayaka Chavithi independently. Bal Gangadhar Tilak found that by celebrating a festival socially would help to develop the feeling of oneness among the people which would help them to fight the British.
From that day onwards, Idols of Lord Ganesha or Lord Vinayaka were being installed in different cities of India at popular places in the cities and people from all walks of life were encouraged to be a part of the festivity. Till date there is a tradition of installing the idol at Pune where Bal Gangadhar Tilak first started.
Vinayaka Chavithi Outside India
People living outside India also celebrate Vinayaka Chavithi with great devotion. The devotion is much more as they are far away from country. People would love to organize a social gathering and would invite everyone to be a part of their worshiping the Lord Ganesha.
Vinayaka Chavithi and other festivals give an opportunity for Indians living outside India to meet and greet the fellow Indians in their vicinity.
Environmental impact of Vinayaka Chavithi
In the olden days Idols were made from clay which would immediately dissolve in the water. Clay idols were not colored and they had their own natural beauty. Now a days for the sake of a better looking Ganesha or Vinayaka people have opted for Plaster of Paris.
Preparing of Ganesha or Vinayaka with Plaster of Paris is much easier and faster. The idol of Ganesha made from Plaster of paris looks better as it could be colored with synthetic colors on Plaster of Paris.
Clay would not support synthetic paints on it and hence Idols made of Plaster of Paris are more bright and colorful and good looking. Idols of Ganesha up to heights of 20 to 50 feet can also be prepared easily when compared to clay idols. The normal height would vary from 1 inch to 12-15 feet. With clay it is very difficult to prepare an Idol if the height crosses 5 feet.
The problems associated with Idols of Ganesh made from Plaster of Paris
1) The time taken for Plaster of Paris or POP is much longer than that of Clay which depending on the size of the Idol can go up to Months.
2) The paints that are used on the Idols of Ganesha prepared from POP contain heavy metals like copper, lead and Cadmium which are released into the water body while it Idol is dissolving in the water.
3) These heavy metals increase the acidity of the water which in turn pollutes the water to the extent that fish and other creatures die.
4) It is observed that the oxygen content in the water body would decrease with the number of idols being immersed increases posing a threat to the aquatic life in the water body.
5) According to a survey of water bodies after immersion of POP idols the Total Dissolved Solid increased by 100% after immersion.
Devotees along with the idols also would throw the remains of the Puja into the water body which would pollute the water.
Eco friendly Ganesha Idols
Idols made from clay(Also called Eco Friendly Idols) should be used instead of the one prepared from Plaster of Paris (POP).
Immersion of POP idols should be done in the tanks that should be constructed by the Government at different places and avoid the direct immersion of POP idols into the natural water bodies.
Immersion of the smaller Idols made from clay and reusing the same idol of POP every year until the maximum time it can be used.
Using of natural colors instead of the synthetic colors if possible.