Chathurthi, also known as Chaturthi, is a term used in Hinduism to refer to the fourth day of both the waxing (Shukla Paksha) and waning (Krishna Paksha) phases of the lunar month. In the Hindu lunar calendar, each month is divided into two fortnights – Shukla Paksha (bright half) and Krishna Paksha (dark half). Each fortnight consists of 15 lunar days, and Chathurthi occurs on the fourth day of each of these halves.
Among the various Chaturthi days that occur in each lunar month, two of the most widely observed Chaturthi are:
- Vinayaka Chaturthi: This Chaturthi falls during the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) of the Bhadrapada month, which typically falls between August and September. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity who is revered as the remover of obstacles and the lord of beginnings. Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and is one of the major festivals in some parts of India, especially in Maharashtra.
- Sankashti Chaturthi: This Chaturthi falls during the waning phase (Krishna Paksha) of each lunar month and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha as well. However, the Sankashti Chaturthi that occurs in the month of Magha (January-February) is considered particularly significant. Devotees observe fasts and perform special prayers on this day, seeking the blessings of Lord Ganesha for prosperity, success, and the removal of obstacles.
Both Vinayaka Chaturthi and Sankashti Chaturthi hold immense religious and cultural importance for Hindu devotees who participate in various rituals and celebrations to honor Lord Ganesha and seek his divine blessings.