Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganeshotsav, is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom, success and good fortune. It is one of the most popular and grand festivals in India, especially in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Goa and Tamil Nadu. The festival lasts for 10 days, starting from the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the waxing moon phase (Shukla Paksha) in the month of Bhadrapada (August-September) and ending on the fourteenth day (Anant Chaturdashi) of the same lunar cycle.
Varalakshmi Vratham, also known as Varalakshmi Puja or Varalakshmi Nombu, is another Hindu festival that honors Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu and the goddess of wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness. It is observed by married women on the second Friday or the Friday before the full moon day (Purnima) in the month of Shravana (July-August). The festival is mainly celebrated in South India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Sankatahara Chaturthi or Sankashti Chauth, is a monthly fasting day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the waning moon phase (Krishna Paksha) in every lunar month. The most significant Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi occurs in the month of Magha (January-February) according to North Indian calendars and in the month of Pausha (December-January) according to South Indian calendars. On this day, devotees worship Lord Ganesha to remove all obstacles and difficulties in their lives.
In this blog post, we will tell you how to celebrate these three festivals in 2023 with date, time, significance and rituals.
Ganesh Chaturthi 2023
In 2023, Ganesh Chaturthi will begin on Monday, September 18 at 11:02 am and end on Thursday, September 28 with the Ganesh visarjan. The festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Ganesha, who is believed to have been born on this auspicious day in the month of Bhadrapada. According to legend, Goddess Parvati created Ganesha from clay and breathed life into him. She asked him to guard her door while she bathed.
When Lord Shiva came home, he was stopped by Ganesha who did not recognize him. Shiva got angry and beheaded Ganesha with his trident. Parvati was devastated and threatened to destroy the world if her son was not revived. Shiva then instructed his followers to bring the head of any living creature they could find. They brought back an elephant’s head which Shiva placed on Ganesha’s body and restored his life. Lord Shiva also declared that Ganesha would be the first god to be worshipped before any other god.
The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi involves installing clay idols of Ganesha at homes or public places and offering prayers and offerings to him for 10 days. The idols are decorated with flowers, clothes, jewelry and other accessories. The offerings include modaks (sweet dumplings), coconut, jaggery, fruits and flowers. The devotees also sing hymns and songs in praise of Ganesha and perform aarti (ritual waving of lamps). On the last day of the festival, the idols are taken out in processions with music and dance and immersed in water bodies such as rivers, lakes or sea. This symbolizes Ganesha’s return to his abode in Mount Kailash with his parents Shiva and Parvati.
The main rituals of Ganesh Chaturthi are:
– Pranapratishtha: This is the ritual of invoking life into the idol of Ganesha by chanting mantras.
– Shhodashopachara: This is the ritual of offering 16 items to Ganesha such as sandalwood paste, vermilion, incense, lamp, water, rice grains etc.
– Uttarpuja: This is the ritual of bidding farewell to Ganesha before immersing his idol.
– Ganpati Visarjan: This is the ritual of immersing the idol of Ganesha in water.
The main mantra of Ganesh Chaturthi is:
– Om Gan Ganapataye Namah: This is the mantra of salutation to Ganesha.
Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi 2023
In 2023, Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi will be observed on Wednesday, February 8. The festival is celebrated on every fourth day after the full moon day in every lunar month. The word Sankashti means to overcome difficulties and Chaturthi means the fourth day. The festival is dedicated to Lord Ganesha who is believed to remove all obstacles and grant wishes to his devotees. The most important Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi occurs in the month of Magha or Pausha when the moon rises with an elephant face constellation called Gajananam. This day is also known as Sakat Chauth or Til Chauth.
The festival is celebrated by fasting from sunrise to moonrise and performing a special puja to Ganesha in the evening. The idol or picture of Ganesha is decorated with flowers, vermilion, sandalwood paste etc. The offerings include til (sesame seeds), gud (jaggery), tilkut (sesame-jaggery balls), til ladoo (sesame-jaggery balls) etc. The devotees also recite the story of Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi and chant mantras and songs in his praise. They also break their fast after sighting the moon and offering prayers to Ganesha.
The main rituals of Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi are:
– Upavasa: This is the ritual of fasting from sunrise to moonrise.
– Ganapati Puja: This is the ritual of offering prayers and offerings to Ganesha in the evening.
– Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat Katha: This is the ritual of narrating the story of how Ganesha helped his devotee King Shursen overcome his troubles.
– Chandrodaya Darshan: This is the ritual of sighting the moon and offering prayers to Ganesha.
The main mantra of Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi is:
– Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada
Varalakshmi Vratham 2023
In 2023, Varalakshmi Vratham will be observed on **Friday, August 25**. The festival is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, who is the embodiment of eight forms of wealth and prosperity. These are Dhanalakshmi (money), Dhanyalakshmi (grains), Dhairyalakshmi (courage), Santanalakshmi (children), Vidyalakshmi (knowledge), Vijayalakshmi (victory), Gajalakshmi (elephants) and Adilakshmi (primordial force). The word Varalakshmi means the one who grants boons. The festival is observed by married women who seek the blessings of Lakshmi for the well-being of their husbands, children and families.
The festival is celebrated by performing a special puja to a kalash (pot) that represents Lakshmi. The kalash is filled with rice or water, coins, betel nuts, turmeric, vermilion and a coconut. It is also decorated with a cloth, flowers and jewelry. A sacred thread called dorak is tied around the kalash. The women also wear new clothes, jewelry and apply henna on their hands. They offer various items to Lakshmi such as fruits, sweets, coconut, betel leaves etc. They also recite the story of Varalakshmi Vratham and chant mantras and songs in her praise. They also exchange gifts and prasad (sacred food) with other women.
The main rituals of Varalakshmi Vratham are:
– Sankalpa: This is the ritual of taking a vow to observe the fast and puja with sincerity and devotion.
– Kalasha Sthapana: This is the ritual of placing the kalash on a wooden plank or a plate and invoking Lakshmi into it.
– Ashtottara Shatanamavali: This is the ritual of reciting the 108 names of Lakshmi.
– Varalakshmi Vratha Katha: This is the ritual of narrating the story of how Parvati performed the vratham and got blessed by Lakshmi.
– Mangala Aarti: This is the ritual of waving lamps in front of Lakshmi and singing her praises.
The main mantra of Varalakshmi Vratham is:
– Om Mahalakshmyai Namah: This is the mantra of salutation to Lakshmi.