Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a vibrant and widely celebrated Hindu festival that honors Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of wisdom, prosperity, and new beginnings.
Ganesh Chaturthi traces its roots back to the 4th century CE in Maharashtra, India. It gained widespread popularity during the 19th century under the leadership of Lokmanya Tilak. The festival was used as a platform to unite people during the fight for independence from British rule.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great enthusiasm for 10 days, typically falling in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada (August-September). The festival begins on the fourth day of the waxing moon and culminates on Ananta Chaturdashi.
One of the most cherished traditions is bringing an idol of Lord Ganesha into homes and public pandals. Devotees believe that Ganesha, when invoked, brings blessings, prosperity, and removes obstacles. Elaborate decorations and garlands adorn the idols.
During the festival, elaborate prayers, aarti (rituals with lighted lamps), and bhajans (devotional songs) are offered to Lord Ganesha. Families and communities come together to perform these rituals, seeking his divine blessings.
The festival's culmination, Ananta Chaturdashi, sees a grand procession for the immersion (visarjan) of the Ganesha idols in rivers, lakes, or the sea. It symbolizes Ganesha's return to his heavenly abode, and the water bodies become a spectacle of devotion and fervor.