The plump, smiling, mischievous, Elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is considered as the symbol of wisdom and prosperity. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha.
It is observed throughout India, the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Telangana, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh celebrate it on a wider scale than the others. This is a ten-day festival starting from Shukla Chaturthi of the Bhadra month of the Hindu Calendar. Idols of Lord Ganesh are brought to people’s homes and worshipped for 11 days. Ganesh idols are also placed publicly in elaborate pandals and temporary stages On the last day, the god returns to His heavenly abode and these idols are immersed in a river or the sea. This is called visarjan (immersion)
Every day, Arti is performed in the morning as well as in the evening and offerings are made to Lord Ganesha. These include modaks that are dumplings stuffed with jaggery and coconut. Flowers and Durva are also offered to the Lord. Along with the Arti, various hymns from Shirsha Upanishad, Rig Veda, and other scriptures are recited.
The Public pandals have various decorations like lighting effects, beautiful floral decorations. Some even present various mythological stories or social issues enacted into plays.The whole atmosphere is delightful and spiritual. One of the best things to enjoy is the dhol tashas played during the festival.
During visarjan there is a procession of musicians, dancers, singers, priests and onlookers along with the numerous Ganesha idols from peoples’ houses and the pandals. Shouts of ‘Ganapati bappa Morya, Purchya varshi laukariya’ (beloved Ganesha, Lord of Morya, come again early next year) resound all around along with the loudspeakers shrieking from the trucks and the banging of the drums and gongs. They even shower everyone with gulal(red powder). The immersion marks the end of the ten-day festival which is an emotional moment for the devotees.
These days eco-friendly and biodegradable idols are encouraged to minimize the pollution caused in the rivers and sea. The ganesh utsav is also the day when Lord Shiva declared that Ganesh would be above all Hindu Gods and would be worshiped before any other deity. This festival was started in 1894 by Lokmanya Tilak to get all the hindus together.
The form of the God is worshiped as each part signifies something. The head symbolizes the pure soul. The Elephant head denotes wisdom,the small eyes denote concentration, the huge ears indicate keeping ears open to the inner voice of the conscious, listen more, speak less, the trunk signifies efficiency and adaptability. The large belly teaches us to digest all good and bad in life, the laddoo and modak represent the discovery of the sweetness of the soul. His vehicle the mouse teaches us to overcome desires. The broken tusk teaches us to be positive. The four arms indicate Mind (Manas), Intellect (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara) and conditioned conscience (Chitta). The Vignaharta is worshipped to remove all the obstacles that come our way and help us grow intellectually.
This year the Ganesh Festival will start on the 13th of September 2018 to 23rd September 2018