What is Ganesh Chathurdhi ? A Short Note
Ganesh Chaturthi (ISO: Gaṇeśa Chaturthī), also known as Vinayaka Chaturti (Vināyaka Chaturthī), or Vinayaka Chaviti (Vināyaka Chavitī) is a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of Ganesh to earth from Kailash Parvat with his mother Goddess Parvati/Gauri.
The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesh clay idols privately in homes and publicly by Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak popularly known as Lokmanya Tilak in Pune in the year 1893 on elaborate pandals (temporary stages).
Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as, prayers and vrata (fasting).
Offerings and prasāda from the daily prayers, that are distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka as it is believed to be a favourite of Lord Ganesh.
The festival ends on the tenth day after start, when the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in a nearby body of water such as a river or sea. In Mumbai alone, around 150,000 statues are immersed annually.
Thereafter the clay idol dissolves and Ganesh is believed to return to Mount Kailash to Parvati and Shiva.
The festival celebrates Lord Ganesh as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles as well as the god of wisdom and intelligence and is observed throughout India, especially in the states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Goa, West Bengal, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
Ganesh Chaturthi is also observed in Nepal and by the Hindu diaspora elsewhere such as in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa ( Swami Ghanananda (Ghana) : The first Hindu Temple Builder in Africa ), United States, and Europe. In the Gregorian calendar, Ganesh Chaturthi falls between 22 August and 20 September every year.
At public venues, along with the reading of texts and group feasting, athletic and martial arts competitions are also held.