In Hinduism one is expected to follow so many rituals and customs that one would need a pandit to make god know that you are offering flowers, sweets and whatever.
The general belief here is that if any such ritual is not done rightly as prescribed, you would end up getting the wrath of the deity rather than the blessing.
However this is not considered so in the case of Ganesha, this elephant headed god is considered to be dearer to children and a friend to all. He is seen as a god who removes any obstacles in the path to success and hence is always given first priority when you pray to any other Hindu god.
Vinayaka Chathurthi Or Ganesh Chathurthi
Ganesh chathurthi is the birthday function of lord Ganesh. Since he was born in the afternoon, the pooja too is best when done in the afternoon. Although in North India the pooja is done for an extended period of 3,5 or 9 to 11 days, in South India it is usually a one day celebration.
New Ganesh Idols are bought or made from clay and installed at homes, after offering special delicacies that are favourite to him.
After the pooja the idol (made from clay) is taken in a procession to a river or water source nearby and soaked into it.
The time of installation of the idol of vinayaka can be done either one day earlier, or on the day of Chathurthi.
The Science and Reasons
Generally Vinayaka Chathurthi is celebrated during the month of September just before the setting of Northeast monsoon in October.
The dry summer would have made water sources porous and rivers might have been running shallowly. Thus the clay from the idols when suspended in water would form a colloid that would coagulate the pores and form a layer that has very fine pores.
Water would find it difficult to move towards gravity in such a condition and thus sort to lateral imbibitions. This would naturally lead to increase and rise in the ground water level on the setting up of the monsoon.
Although there are many reasons explained to the practice of dissolving clay idols in water source, the one that is largely believed is that, being agrarian based culture our forefathers wanted to inculcate the basic meaning of life to the future generations.
The implication that life began from the earth and ends in it is the common explanation given.
The POP Idols
However due to advancement in science as usual man has sorted to Plaster of Paris (POP) idols, which not only does not dissolve in water but is hazardous due to the chemicals present in it.
Although comparatively huge and decorative idols are being made, the harm that these idols cause to the environment is immeasurable.
Make Your Ganesha Idols
Many DIYs are available in the internet, it is advisable to make idols out of clay. This would be the right way to thank our earth that has given us everything.
You can also make ganesh idols with turmeric powder!
Wishing my readers a very happy Ganesh Chathurthi