Ganesh Chaturthi also is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is celebrated on the arrival of Ganesh from Kailash Parvat to earth with his mother Goddess Gauri. Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival yet it is celebrated by all religions. The festival is considered with the establishment of Ganesh idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals. Observation includes the chanting of Vedic mantras (hymns) and Hindu texts such as prayers.
The puja is done with fastings. Modaka is believed to be the favorite of Lord Ganesh, hence modaka as prasad is distributed from the pandals the occasion. The festival ends on the tenth day from the start when the idol is carried out with a public procession with music and group chanting. After the procession, the idols are immersed in a nearby water body such as a river or sea.
The festival is widely celebrated in Mumbai. Every year nearly 1,50,000 statues are immersed, which dissolves the clay idol represents the return of Lord Ganesh to his father, Lord Shiva, and mother, Lord Parvati in Kailash. 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.
History of the festival
It is unknown when, how, and where Ganesh Chaturthi was first observed. The festival was publicly celebrated in Pune since the era of Shivaji (1630–1680) who was the founder of the Maratha Empire. After the commencement of the British Raj, the Ganesh festival lost state patronage but became a private family celebration in Maharashtra until its revival by Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak.
According to others such as Kaur, the festival became a public event later, in 1892 when Bhausaheb Laxman Javale also known as Bhau Rangari, installed the first Sarvajanik (Public) Ganesh idol in Pune. In 1893, the Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak praised the celebration of Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav in his newspaper, Kesari, and dedicated his efforts to launch the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organized public event.
Tilak recognized Ganesh’s appeal as “the god for everybody”. According to Robert Brown, he chose Ganesh as the god that bridged the gap between Brahmins and non-Brahmins, thereby building a grassroots unity across them to oppose British colonial rule.
Where is celebrated?
Ganesh Chaturthi is observed throughout India, especially in the states such as Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh, and is usually celebrated privately at home in Tamil Nadu. Internationally, the festival is observed in Nepal and by the Hindu diaspora elsewhere in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, United States, and Europe.