Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10 day festival celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha who is worshipped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. There is a belief that Lord Ganesh was born during Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month. According to this, the festival takes place either at the end of August or at the beginning of September.
This year, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on September 2 (Monday).
There are two different stories that revolve around the birth of Lord Ganesh. First tells that Parvati created Ganesh out of her body’s dirt while she was bathing and she had asked him to guard the door while she was took bath. Shiva, who had gone out at that time, when returned was not allowed to enter by Ganesh. Out of anger, Shiva severed the head of Ganesh. Parvati was enraged by his actions and then Shiva had promised her that Ganesh will live again. The devas, who were sent out to find a dead person’s head could only find the head of an elephant. At the end, Shiva had fixed the elephant’s head on the child and brought him back to life.
The second story tells that Ganesh was created by Shiva and Parvati on a request by the devas to be an obstacle-creator in the path of demonic beings.
The festival usually begins with the installation of Ganesh statues at homes, crafted specially by artisans. On the last day, Ananta Chaturdasi, the statues are carried out on the streets by devotees who sing and dance along the parade and finally the statues are immersed in the ocean or in some other water body.
On the first day of the festival, it is forbidden to look at the moon as the legend says that the moon had laughed on Ganesha as he fell down from his rat.
It is widely celebrated in the state of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The festival was started more than 125 years ago in Pune.
The celebrations are carried out in a special way at the Siddhivinayak Temple, Prabhadevi, Central South Mumbai. Thousands of devotees can be seen at the temple who join in their hands and pray to the God. Offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut, jaggery, and coins are made to the God.