Ganesh Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha’s birthday, is observed on the fourth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada. This occasion is known as Vinayak Chaturthi, as well as Kalank Chaturthi, Shiv Chaturthi and Danda Chaturthi. In 2023, this festival falls on September 19 and the Ganesha Visarjan will be observed on September 28.
Ganesh Utsav commences on September 19. According to religious customs, it is considered inauspicious to catch sight of the moon on this Bhadrapada Chaturthi. To understand the astrological reasons behind this, Kashi astrologer Swami Kanhaiya Maharaj has shared the religious beliefs that looking at the moon on Chaturthi Tithi during the Bhadrapada month is associated with the risk of facing dishonour and false accusations.
Swami Kanhaiya Maharaj explained that in the stories it is said that Lord Krishna had indeed gazed at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi, which led to false accusations against him. To absolve himself from these allegations, he performed dedicated worship of Lord Ganesha with all the prescribed rituals, ultimately finding relief from the charges.
Swami Kanhaiya Maharaj also shared another significant story related to this tradition. It is said that when Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, took the form of Gaja (elephant) and circled the Earth, all the gods and goddesses were singing his praises. However, the Moon, proud of its beauty, smiled at Ganesha’s appearance. In response, Lord Ganesha cursed the Moon to turn black. Consequently, on this day, dark spots are most visible on the Moon, which is why it is forbidden to look at the Moon during Ganesh Chaturthi.
According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Ganesha’s birth falls during the Shukla Paksha of the Bhadrapada month, which corresponds to August or September in the Gregorian calendar. Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 19 with Ganesh Visarjan concluding the ten-day Ganesha Utsav festival on Thursday, September 28.
According to Drik Panchang, the auspicious time to welcome Lord Ganesha home on Chaturthi Tithi is from 12:39 PM on September 18, 2023, to 01:43 PM on September 19, 2023. Devotees have the option to bring Ganpati idols home for one and a half days, 3 days, 7 days, or the full 10 days, with 16 rituals to be observed during this period.