Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival held on the birthday of the lord Ganesha. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati. It is celebrated all over India. The festival is held on shukla chaturthi in the Hindu month of Bhaadrapada and ends on Anant chaturdashi. For example in 2014 it will be celebrated on August 29th.It is celebrated widely in maharashtra.On this occasion women make special "modaks" which are loved by Lord Ganesha. Lalbaug is a place that every year celebrates ganesh chaturthi on a large scale. There are ganesha's form like Bal Ganesh, Lalbaugchya Raja, Siddhivinayak Maharaj and Dhagru Sheth. Out of these, most popular are Dhagru sheth and Lalbaugchya Raja.
Ganesh Chaturthi is also called as Vinayaka Chaturthi, it is a pure Hindu festival, during this festival people pray Lord Ganesha with great devotion. It is a ten day festival. In this occasion people keep Ganesha’s clay idol privately in homes, or publicly on big pandals (temporary stage).
Ganesha Chaturthi starts with Vedic hymns, prayers, vrata and hindu texts such as Ganesha Upanishad. Offerings of prasada after the prayer and distributing amongst the community people, prasad include sweets, modaka ( it is believed to be the favourite sweet of ganesha). This festival starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which normally falls in the month of August or September. The Ganesha chaturthi ends on the tenth day (reference- www.alltopcollection.com)
Celebrations include four rituals.
- The first one is Pranapratistha. It involves the positioning of the idol or deity of Lord Ganesha into the pandals. This calls for a big celebration. People pray and sing various folk songs while bringing the deity to the Pandals. They play with colours as well.
- The second stage is Shodasopachara. It involves praying to the lord and offering him puja.
- The third stage is Uttarpuja. It involves a ceremony after which the deity can be moved from his position. After this ritual, the idol is moved among the public so that they can take his blessings.
- The last stage is Ganpati Visarjan. At this stage, the idol is immersed into the river, sea or ocean. He is believed to go back to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati after the immersion.
- Shobhna Gupta, Festivals of India (New Delhi : Har-Anand Publishing, 2002), p. 54
- "When is Ganesh Chaturthi in 2014?". When Is - Dates of Religious and Civil Holidays Around the World. 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.