In this age of eco-friendliness and environmental consciousness, the entire ritual of Ganesh Chaturthi is taking an eco-friendly turn. There are innovative eco-friendly Ganpati idol and Ganpati decoration that is environmentally and eco-friendly. People now know about Ganpati idols made from eco-friendly material and are now showing interest in eco-friendly puja decoration material, which is made from eco-friendly material that is biodegradable and recyclable.
Bloom ’89 is one of several décors and gifting companies that are promoting and marketing eco-friendly alternatives for Ganesh puja idols and decorations. They are doing an excellent job promoting these creative ideas and helping to make the Ganpati Puja experience a family do-it-yourself occasion.
New Trends in Ganpati Celebrations for Home
The covid-19 pandemic and the successive lockdowns led people to be confined in their homes for months which in turn led to fewer people going out in the markets. This backdrop created an opportunity for interior designers and gifting companies like Bloom '89, who hit upon innovative ideas to spruce up the festive spirit at home by advocating the use of common household items such as clothes, towels, bottles, discarded glass, and house plants to create an elegant home décor.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the time for renovation and new projects. Once this idea of eco-friendly Puja celebrations began gaining popularity, devotees realized they could spruce up their homes creatively with old and often discarded items, and turn them into a small temple without going out of the house and without spending on expensive trappings.
The emphasis is on using eco-friendly materials for all activities in the Ganesh Puja, including the idol itself. Brightly coloured Idols available in the market are mostly made with Plaster of Paris and coloured with chemicals that are injurious to health.
The trend is to innovate, keeping Covid-19 restrictions in mind by avoiding crowded marketplaces and using material available at home to add vibrancy to the festival. This boosts the creative streak within family members and encourages the spirit to conserve, preserve and recycle. As a result, almost nothing is discarded and new uses are found for materials that would have normally been neglected.
A God is born
Lord Ganesh is the God of Wisdom and prosperity. Lord Ganesh is the Hindu God who symbolizes new beginnings, and this is the reason Lord Ganesh is worshipped at the beginning of all puja rituals.
Lord Ganesh is the child of Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri. His brother is Lord Kartikeya, the God of War, and his sister Ashokasundari. Lord Ganesh was married to Riddhi (Prosperity) and Siddhi (Spirituality). The children of Lord Ganesh are Shubh (auspicious) and Laabh (Profit). That is the reason why the terms Riddhi, Siddhi, Shubh, and Laabh are associated with this God. 108 names know Lord Ganesh, but the most significant are Vighnaharta (Remover of Obstacles), Lambodara (for His pot Belly), and Ekadanta (One tusk as the other is broken). These names can be heard in the chants of the Ganesh Stuti and Ganesh Aarti.
Lord Ganesh was a divine creation by his mother, Parvati, who created an idol from the rouge applied to her body during her bath and breathed life into the idol. Ganesh Puja is performed on the fourth day of the waxing moon during the Hindu month of Magh, hence Ganesh Chaturthi's name.
How Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations began?
The origins of the Ganesh Chaturthi are lost in history. The earliest known celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi are traceable to the dynasties of Satavahanas, the Rashtrakutas, and the Chalukyas. It is widely known and recorded that Chhatrapati Shivaji initiated Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Maharashtra in the seventeenth century. This grand tradition continued after this and received wide patronage during the nineteenth century during the time of the Peshwas. Lord Ganesh was the family deity of the Peshwa, and Ganesh Chaturthi came to be celebrated all over Maharashtra and wherever there were Maharashtrians. However, Ganesh Puja suffered a setback during British rule when people had to perform the Puja in their homes until Bal Gangadhar Tilak revived the pomp and gaiety of this ritual.
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have continued thereafter, and even today, this is the biggest festival in Maharastra. In addition, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus worldwide, and every Hindu ritual begins with the Ganesh Puja.
There are certain interesting anecdotes associated with the Ganesh Chaturthi. The chant of “Ganapati Bappa Morya” was never in the scriptures. Morya is said to be the name of a pious Ganesh devotee lost in the pages of history. Somehow his name got attached to Ganesh and hence the chant. Lord Ganesh is said to have been a Naga, and this is mentioned in the Ganesh Stuti.
How can you add festive spirit to Ganpati Decoration?
One of the ways to add a festive spirit to Ganpati decoration with eco-friendly material available at home is to use a theme for decoration. For example, for homes with a garden, a theme can be made by using flowers of a similar colour and using the same colour on earth soil, paper, and other materials. The theme used will showcase a festive atmosphere inside the home.
Another way is to make an improvised rangoli with material available at home. For example, turmeric, henna, rice powder, and old Holi colours can be useful in making an attractive rangoli without going out of the house to buy rangoli colours.
There are several tips to make the Ganpati Puja enjoyable. First, involve the whole family in making innovative and creative seating arrangements for family members. One way is to use old mattresses and cover them with bedcovers and use cushions for the backrest. Another way is to paint an old trunk and cover it with bedclothes and soft cushions for sitting.
Vegetables, fruits, and home-cooked desserts can be used for the prasad. A family member can do the Ganesh Puja. Several websites give clear stepwise instructions on how to perform puja with all rituals and the correct mantras. Many families use cleaned stainless steel plates and mirror finish plates as Puja Thalis.
The whole ceremony becomes an enjoyable "Do it yourself" experience that is both satisfying, inexpensive, and spiritually exhilarating experience with a personal touch.
Do’s and don'ts for Eco-Friendly Ganpati Decoration at home
- Use pebbles, beads, old dupattas, and torn saris for decoration. The pebbles can be painted with water or oil colours, depending on what’s available at home
- Make decorative rangolis out of cloth cut out flowers, old imitation jewelry, glass beads
- Decorate the area around the mandap with banana and bamboo steams and banana leaves
- Utilise common home items like coloured string, cork, bamboo shoots, coir ropes.
- Make bowls from old discarded cloth and old newspapers. Use double layers to make them stronger. Decorate them with leaves, and they can be used for serving prasad
- Break coconut shells into decorative pieces, use wheat dough with turmeric to turn them into innovative diyas.
- Use wooden pedestals or low stools covered with decorative cloth for the throne of Lord Ganesh.
- Use old glass bottles as lampshades. Insert a bulb and a holder and get the improvised lamps working. The glass on the bottles can be painted with light watercolors available at home to get the effect of coloured lights.
- Don’t use plastics. They are not biodegradable and certainly not eco-friendly.
- Don’t use thermacol plates and bowls. There are biodegradable alternatives such as leaves of bananas and other plants.
- Don’t throw away the decorations. Store them safely. Most of them can be used the following year again.
- Don’t keep the idol inside the temple after the Puja. The idol can be kept separately in the puja room and can be used the following year again.
- Don’t use the same idol if it has got chipped or damaged in any way. Then, using such an idol is considered inauspicious.
Word of caution
Rules regarding community worship and elaborate immersion ceremonies have become very strict in the last 2 years since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the successive lockdowns.
Mostly, the town and city administrative bodies have strict rules forbidding community pujas and going in groups to a river or sea for immersion. Using eco-friendly material with things at home, creatively, is the best way to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.
It is better to make the idol at home by immersing clay in water to make it a pliable dough that can be made into diverse shapes. The idol can be used the following year by sprinkling some water as a symbolic immersion after completing this year’s puja.
On the flip side, there is a good outcome from the covid-19 situation. Family members are spending more time at home, getting a do-it-yourself experience, saving money, and indulging in such community activities at home. There is no need to hire a priest, buy expensive decorative puja material that cannot be recycled.
The word of caution is a blessing in disguise, for it has spurred a revolutionary innovation of its own.
1. How can I make an eco-friendly Ganesh idol at home?
You would have seen Ganesh idols in community pandals made of clay, straw, coins, cardboard, cigarette cartons, and even paper. You can use whatever is available at home. The material can be dismantled and reconstructed the following year. This will take care of the Visarjan (Immersion) ceremony
2. Can I make the Throne of Lord Ganesh with wood?
Wood is considered auspicious and can be used for making the throne. In addition, you can cover the throne with decorative and coloured cloths available at home
3. What material available at home can I use for lighting a diya?
Old torn banyans can be used for this purpose. Clean and wash the old banyans and cut them into small strips 10 inches long. Use two strips and coil them like a rope. Immerse them in the oil or ghee being used in the diya. They will light well after a while.
4. Where should I place the idol and make the temple in my house?
The idol should preferably be in the prayer room of the house, and, once kept, no other activity should be done in the selected room. If there is no specific prayer room, keep the idol in a place where you can face east while doing the puja. Again, no other activity is to be done in the room where the idol is kept.
5. How can I recycle the puja material after the Ganesh Chaturthi puja?
The best way is to use all the biodegradable material as compost in your garden or for your potted plants. That way, everything can be reused, and nothing will need to be thrown away.