Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most auspicious festivals in the Hindu religion. This 10-day festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesh is also known as the ‘elephant-headed’ god. Lord Ganesh is known as the God of wealth, learning, wisdom, prosperity and a remover of obstacles. All Hindus worship Lord Ganesh first, before starting any important work, in fact no Hindu pooja can start without paying homage to Lord Ganesh.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated every year with great excitement, joy and devotion. It is believed that devotees who pray to Lord Ganesh are able to fulfil their wishes and gain knowledge and wisdom to lead a peaceful and prosperous life. This festival is celebrated privately, within Hindu homes as well as publicly, at a grand scale – within communities, temples etc. Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi begins several weeks in advance, with craftsman making Lord Ganesh idols, which vary in different sizes. Now-a-days, everyone is more aware of the environment, which is why people in the current climate prefer idols that are environmentally friendly – made up of eco-friendly, dissolvable clay.
We also celebrate this festival every year in our house. All the family members bring Lord Ganesh (in the form of an idol) in the house. This is followed by worshipping the God and completing all the rituals; firstly, praying for invoking life in the idol and secondly paying tribute to the Lord Ganesh in 16 different ways. We, family members strongly believe that during this period Lord Ganesh is present in the idol placed in our home and do everything we can to look after our special guest – Lord Ganesh. Prayers and offerings (prasad) are offered every morning and evening to the deity and a request is made to the deity to bless us all and our home with good health, wealth, peace, prosperity and joy. Food is a very important part of this festival as Lord Ganesh is believed to be a lover of food, especially sweets, such as Modak.
The festival concludes by immersing the idol in water, which is known as Ganesh Visarjan. The immersion basically symbolises Lord Ganesh’s departure from the house and the homeward ceremony back to his parents – Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati at Mount Kailash. This ceremony is also completed by following all the rituals, where family members say bye to their guest (Lord Ganesh) and at the same time request him to return the following year.