Ganesh Chaturthi - Color of Mumbai

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in order to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is considered to be the most sacred day for seeking the blessings of Lord Ganesha.  

It falls on the 4th day of bright fortnight of the Tamil month Aavani (August-September). This year(2013), it falls on Monday September 9.

According to  Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva on this day declared his son Ganesha as superior to all Gods barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati.  

Ganesh Chaturthi is considered to be auspicious when it is believed Lord Ganesha descends on earth to give blessings to his devotees.

Ganesha is the the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He was younger to Kartikeya.  

Lord Ganesha is known to be the God of Power and wisdom. It is believed that Lord Ganesha removes all obstacles; this is the reason why people worship him before starting any auspicious work. 

Lord Ganesha is also called as ‘Vighna Harta’ (the remover of obstacles) and ‘Buddhi Pradaayaka’ (the giver of wisdom and intellect). Most interesting to know is that there are 108 different names of Lord Ganesha.  

This festival is celebrated with great vigor and enthusiasm by his devotees throughout India, especially in Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, people bring idols of Lord Ganesha to their homes and worship it for 10 days as part of the Ganeshotsava festival. 

Initially, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj began the tradition of worshipping Lord Ganesha in Maharashtra. 

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the fearless revolutionary freedom fighter owes the credit for initiating the celebrations of this festival on a wide scale. 

During, 1833 he urged the people to unite and come together for celebrations of their Lord. His basic motive behind this was to unite and bond people together  and create awareness about freedom among them.   

Since then Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated on a wide scale across Maharashtra every year.

On a Chaturthi moon day, the lord of the stars made fun of Ganesha and his bulging belly. Ganesha got angry and cursed that whoever looked at him on the night of Shukla paksha Chaturthi day, his curse would bring scandals and bad luck to those who do the same. Hence, as per  legend one should not look at the moon on the night of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Women make modakas, Lord Ganesha’s favourite laddoos to offer him during prayers. The same procedure is followed for 10 days. On the11th day the idol is taken on a procession through the streets of the city and is then immersed in water near a sea coast or a river bank. 

During the immersion of the idol,  people shout in chorus, ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purcha Varshi Laukariya’ which means devotees urge the God to come back early next year.

The final offerings are done using flowers, camphor and coconut. Fulfilling all the rituals, devotees then again wait for Ganesha to come soon next year and bless them. 

In Bengal, large idols of Ganesha are worshipped at educational institutions, where students in new clothes observe fast and pray to the Lord to give them widom and learning.