Sankashti Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Chaturthi that falls on Tuesday is called as Angaraki Sankashti Chaturthi. Angarki Chaturthi is an auspicious fasting day for Hindus. Sankashti Chaturthi fast is mostly observed in Western and Southern India especially in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. This day holds immense significance for followers of Marathi culture. Angarika Chathurthi occurs once or twice a year and is celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm by the devotees of Lord Ganesha.
The literal meaning of ‘Angarki’ is ‘red like burned coal’ and hence red coloured clothes are often worn by devotees. Hindu devotees strongly believe that by worshipping Lord Ganesha and keeping a fast on this day will help them to fulfil all their desires. According to a legend, Angarak, the son of Mother Earth and Bharadwaj Rishi, was a devotee of Lord Ganesha. Angarak was blessed by Lord Ganesha and asked him that his wish will be fulfilled. Angarak expressed that he should be associated with Lord Ganesha’s name forever. Ganesha granted him the wish and thus those worshipping Lord Ganesha on Angarika Chaturthi will be granted their wish.
Devotees worship Lord Ganesha on this day to seek his blessings for a joyful and prosperous life. According to Hindu legends, Lord Ganesha is also known to be the supreme lord of intelligence and remover of all obstacles. Hence, worshiping Ganesha will help people to remove obstacles and reduce problems in their life. It is also believed that a person who observes a sacred fast on Angarki Chaturthi gets the same benefits as those obtained by keeping the Sankashti Ganesha Chaturthi, all throughout the year.
On this auspicious day, devotees wake up early, take a bath and worship idol or image of Lord Ganesha, followed by the aarti. Mantras dedicated to Ganesha are chanted. There is also a tradition to read ‘Ganpati Atharvashesha’ on Angarki Chaturthi. ‘Modak’, the favourite sweet of Lord Ganesha is prepared and offered as ‘bhog’ and later distributed among devotees after the puja. The puja is also incomplete without ‘Durva’ grass. The grass which has three nodes are considered auspicious and are offered to the lord while offering prayers.
Devotees observe strict ‘vrat’ on the day. They observe the fast without eating a single grain of food. While some observe partial fast by eating fruits and food allowed to eat during the fast. In partial fast, only fruits, roots and vegetable products are supposed to be consumed. The staple diet on Sankashti Chaturthi includes Sabudana Khicdi, potato and peanuts. Consuming alcohol and tobacco are strictly prohibited. Devotees break the fast after sighting of the moon. The fast is kept from sunrise to moon rise.
Moonrise Timing: 9:30 pm (as per drikpanchang)
Chaturthi tithi begins 8:43 am on July 31, 2018
Chaturthi tithi ends: 10:22 pm on August 1, 2018
The next Angarki Chaturthi is on December 25, 2018. In North India, Sankashti Chaturthi during Magha month is known as Sakat Chauth. Also, Vinayaka Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. The festival is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.