Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon period (Shukla Chaturthi) in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. In 2019, Ganesh Chaturthi is falling on Monday, September 2. The festival extends over 10 to 11 days and sometimes even 21 days, which usually falls between mid-August and mid-September. Also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, this day celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom, success and prosperity. He is also considered as the god of new beginnings and remover of hurdles.

Ganesh Chaturthi is marked with the installation of Ganesha clay idols both publicly (in outdoor in decorated tents for the public to view and submit their homage) and privately (in homes).The festival is mainly celebrated in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka. Other states that celebrate this occasion are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Odisha, Delhi and Punjab. Though the festival is same and has similar connotations across India, each region has slight variations in rituals and traditions. If you are not installing a statue of the Elephant God, you can also worship your old idol of Ganesha placed in your home temple with a strong belief and piety.

Simple rituals you can follow if you are placing a Ganpati statue at your home this Ganesh Chaturthi

All the members of the family should have a bath before starting any ritual or puja on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Bring home the Ganesha idol that is made of environment-friendly material. The trunk of the Lord should be turning to the left side. If the trunk is turning to the right side, it is considered inauspicious. You can safely place a Ganesha idol with trunk to left, straight or in the air.

It is a tradition to cover the head of the idol when bringing it home with a red coloured and gold bordered cloth.

Ganesha should never be placed near the washroom facilities, not even if the back of the idol is against a wall that separates the room from the washroom.

Wash the idol of Ganpatiji with clean water. Sprinkle some Gangajal on it after bringing home.

The priest performs a special puja to fill the idol with life. The ritual is accompanied by chanting of sacred mantras and bhajans. This process is called as ‘Aavahana’. However, it is not compulsory to call the pandit for ‘Aavahana’ ceremony. There is no need to perform elaborate rituals. Faith and real devotion is what matters. You can yourself chant mantras and bhajans while placing the idol. Simply light a diya and few incense sticks in front of the idol. Offer sweets and flowers. Place turmeric powder and vermicelli powder in front of Ganesha statue.

A red coloured sandalwood tilak is placed on Ganpati’s forehead.

After Aavahan, one should perform Ganesha aarti.

Keep a coconut and a small bowl of grains alongside the Vinayak idol.

Number 21 is considered propitious because it represents five organs of perception, five organs of action, five pranas, five elements and the mind. So 21 red flowers, 21 blades of Durva grass and 21 modaks are offered to the Lord. Touch the parts of the idol with 21 durva dipped in clean water starting with feet. Do not touch the idol’s face with it. Keep reciting one name of Ganesha of the over hundred which he has. As for the sweets, you need to keep 21 modaks in front of the idol as his food. You can also keep any sweet dessert prepared at home like kheer. It is also a ritual to cook the full meal and place every single item before the idol on Ganesh Chaturthi as bhog. Then only the meal can be served to family members and guests as prasad.

Never sleep in front of Ganpati idol. If you have no choice, then never have your feet pointing towards the idol.

All the money and gifts offered in Ganesha’s feet should never be kept in home. This should be donated to a temple or needy.

You can keep the idol for one and a half days, three days, five days, seven days, ten days or even 21 days before visarjan.

You need not bring Ganesha idol every year or in alternative years if you once brought it home. It is completely your wish to bring it again or not. Ganpati would not get angry if next year you do not bring his idol home. He only watches your faith and true emotions.

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the widely celebrated Hindu festivals in the country. Be environment friendly by immersing the idol at home itself in a deep bucket of fresh water or look in your city for places that are having provisions for eco-friendly immersions in man-made ponds. If you are immersing the idol in sea, please do not dump all the decorations along with it in the water. Do not forget about environment while worshipping the Lord.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!