This spectacular festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, popularly worshiped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune
When is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated:
- Late August or early September, depending on the cycle of the moon. It falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada.
- In 2012, Ganesh Chaturthi is on September 19.
Where is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated:
- Mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- One of the best places to experience the festival is in the city of Mumbai.
How is Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated:
- The festival begins with the installation of huge elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated.
- Artisans put months of effort into making the statues.
- It’s forbidden to look at the moon on this first night as legend had it the moon laughed at Lord Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, the rat.
- On Ananta Chaturdasi (the last day), the statues are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing.
What Rituals are Performed During Ganesh Chaturthi:
- Once a statue of Lord Ganesh is installed, a ceremony is undertaken to invoke his holy presence into the statue.
- This ritual is called the Pranapratishhtha Puja, during which a number of mantras are recited.
- Following this a special worship is performed.
- Offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut, jaggery and coins are made to the God.
- Temples devoted to Lord Ganesha also organize special events and prayers.
- Those who have a Ganesha statue in their house treat and care for him as a much loved guest.
Why are the Ganesh Statues Immersed in Water at the End of the Festival:
- Hindus worship idols, or statues, of their gods because it gives them a visible form to pray to.
- They also recognize that the universe is in a constant state of change.
- Form eventually gives away to formlessness. However, the energy still remains.
- The immersion of the statues in the ocean, or other bodies of water, and subsequent destruction of them serves as a reminder of this belief.
What to Expect During Ganesh Chaturthi:
- The festival is celebrated in a very public manner.
- Local communities compete with each other to put up the biggest and best Ganesha statue and display.
- Expect very crowded streets, filled with boisterous devotees, and lots of music.
Happy ganesha festival.