Sankashti Chaturthi, an auspicious day dedicated to Ganesha, is observed in every lunar month of the Hindu calendar on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha. The word ‘sankashti’ has a Sanskrit origin and it means ‘deliverance during difficult times’ and ‘chaturthi’ means ‘fourth day or the day of Lord Ganesha’.
On this felicitous day devotees worship Lord Ganesha by observing a strict fast. Because Lord Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles and problems, it is believed that by praying to Lord Ganesha with dedication, on this day will fulfil all their desires and help them lead a prosperous life. Childless couples also observe the Sankashti Chaturthi vrat to be blessed with a progeny. Most women observe the fast for the welfare of their families.
The fast is broken only at night after viewing the moon. The pooja takes place in the evenings, post sighting of the moon. Lord Ganesha’s idol is offered with flowers and durva (holy grass), as well as coconuts, bananas and modak, the sweet delicacy believed to be a favourite of the Lord. Mantras are chanted in devotion to the Lord and the fast is broken thereafter with modak.
The chants and mantras for lord Ganesha are included here:
As Sankashti Chaturthi is observed every Lunar month, in each month God Ganesha is worshipped with different peeta (Lotus petals) and name. For every month, there is one specific story calle as ‘Vrat Katha’ and there a last story for the month of ‘adhika’. Hence there are 13 stories in all.
The celebrations of Sankashti Chaturthi are prevalent in both northern and southern states of India. In the state of Maharashtra, the festivities are even more elaborate and grandeur.