A time when we pray for new beginnings and gorge on delicious modaks, Ganesh Chaturthi is when new hope springs in our hearts after the rain is about to end. But, there is no denying the fact that our large speakers create noise pollution, there is an overuse of plastic, and tons of Ganpati idols and toxic chemicals clog our seas after the Visarjan is over.
Now is the time to reverse the way we celebrate this festival. Our ancestors have shown us that we don’t need these things to celebrate the festival with pomp and joy! All we need are the natural resources of the earth and our own creativity to ensure that we beget the blessings of Lord Ganesha without hurting the environment. So, here are some ways you can use eco-friendly materials for an elegant yet simple decoration for Ganesh Chaturthi at home.
Buy Eco-friendly Ganesha Idols
Ganpati idols made from Plaster Of Paris (POP) and then painted with chemical dyes pollute our natural water resources and kill aquatic life. This is why some artisans now use sustainable materials such as natural clay, natural fibres, and other biodegradable materials to build Ganesha idols.
In fact, there are many startups today that make Ganesh murtis out of totally biodegradable red soil without adding chemical colour coatings to it. These idols, when immersed in a pot of water, turn into soil, which can then be used to plant a tree. You can opt to keep these in your home, thereby truly venerating Lord Ganesha by playing your part in keeping the Earth safe.
Use Energy-Efficient Lighting
Nowadays, festivals are when our electricity bills run sky-high! So, we suggest you light traditional earthen diyas or terracotta lamps. The use of such natural lighting will not only reduce pollution but also serve to make this festival even more beautiful. Alternatively, you can also use energy-efficient lighting options such as LED light bulbs or battery operated string lights.
Re-use Materials for The Mandap
There is a lot of beauty in old things when used in the right way. Have a look at the materials you may already have lying around at home such as wooden trays, cardboard boxes or leftover Thermocol. You can get creative and fashion a sturdy mandap from these materials, further painting and adorning it with glitter or beads.
Additionally, you can bring the magic of paper into your mandap by creating a couple of origami mice or quilled paper mandala designs. For the backdrop, you can easily put those well-preserved silk sarees to good use and create an elegant ambience. Lastly, hang fresh yellow and orange marigold garland streamers to the backdrop to add a distinct festive look to your Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations!
Add Coconuts To The Festive Decor
Besides Modaks, coconuts are one of the most favourite foods of Lord Ganesha. Moreover, breaking a coconut during this festival also symbolises breaking one’s ego and saying yes to new beginnings. So, put coconuts to good use in your decor and bring their magic into your festival this year.
You can easily fashion empty coconut shells to make candle holders or even bowls for keeping prasad. You can also thread colourful wool strings to the coconut shells and hang them like wind chimes on the ceiling of your mandap!
Make A Rangoli Out of Natural Colours
Stock up on non-toxic colours for creating Rangoli or simply use natural ingredients you have at home as colours. You can use turmeric for yellow, Rava or chalk for white, sindoor for red, henna or Mehendi for green etc. These materials are neither harmful to the environment or to your health. If you feel like skipping powders altogether, you can also make rangolis with flowers or coloured rice as they give a nice texture to the design.
Decorate with Plants And Flowers
Add a touch of green to the Mandap by arranging potted plants around the idol, adding bamboo sticks to the backdrop, or simply draping pillars with green vines. Along with this, flowers tend to add a pop of brightness to your decor. So simply place a glass bowl or a brass Urli in front of the idol and place flowers such as Mogra, Parijat, Rose etc. You can also use red hibiscus flowers in the decor as it is one of the most favourite flowers of Lord Ganesha.
At Ashwin Sheth Group, we recommend that you avoid plastic as much as possible in your decor, as it is a large contributor to creating toxic waste in our environment. We hope these ideas help you celebrate this festival in a sustainable way and you may shout Ganpati Bappa Morya with pride at the thought that you have kept the Earth a little bit greener during this time.