Today is Ganesh Chaturthi. We received several queries about beginners celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. We are suggesting some solutions for the same.
Devotees, who have a tradition of worshipping metal idols, can buy one to 3 inches idols. The purification method is as told for Krishna idols here. Similarly, panchopachara or shodashopachara can be performed and modak is offered as naivedyam. Ganapathy can be worshipped for one day or 3, 5, 7, 9 or 10 days.
The pooja has to be ended with udhyapana and the metal idol can be placed inside a large bowl of water at home. Then, it can be wiped of all moisture to be placed in the worship area.
If the devotees decide not to have a metal idol, mud is another sacred material. A new mud Ganapathy can be brought home every year and worshipped in the same way. If mud idol is brought home, they have to be consigned to water. This is a must.
We were asked about ladies from nuclear families unable to perform the pooja on the Chathurthi Day. We suggested that they can still celebrate the festival after they are free, within the 10 days of the Utsav. If there has been a death in the family or a child-birth with sutaka, the celebrations in that year should be avoided.