Celebrated In: India
Celebrated By: Maratha Community (Hindu)
Ganesha Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival, also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' or 'Vinayaka Chaturthi' is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) and the grandest and most elaborate of them, especially in the western India state of Maharashtra, lasts for 10 days, ending on the day of 'Ananta Chaturdashi'.
Ganesha is the god of wisdom and prosperity and is invoked before the beginning of any auspicious work by the Hindus. It is believed that for the fulfillment of one's desires, his blessing is absolutely necessary. According to the mythology, he is the son of Shiva and Parvati, brother of Kartikeya - the general of the gods, Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and Saraswati-the goddess of learning. There are numerous stories in Hindu mythology, associated with the birth of this elephant-headed god, whose vehicle is the Mooshak or rat and who loves Modaks (droplet shaped Indian sweet).
Legend has it that Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood dough that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath. When her husband, Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him. Shiva severed the head of the child and entered his house. Parvati, learning that her son was dead, was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha.
This festival is mainly celebrated in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Detailed arrangements for the festival are made that include setting up of a Mandapa decked with flowers and lightings, where the idol of Ganapati is placed. People even clean their homes before the arrival of Ganesh Chaturthi. Prayers in the praise of the god are performed daily twice a day. And on the tenth day, Ananta Chaturdashi, over 100000 idols are immersed in the water bodies every year. Grand processions are held, along with people singing and dancing To the tunes of drums and devotional songs. The idols of Lord Ganesha are then riveted in water (sea or river) with all pomp and show. Aloud are the chants of "Ganesh Maharaj Ki Jai" and "Ganapati Bappa Morya"; strong is the faith that Ganesha would remove all obstacles from their life as well as take their sorrows with him while going, and sincere are the requests of asking the Lord To return again soon next year. According To mythology, looking at moon on the first night of festivities isn't allowed for there's a myth attached To this festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. Moon laughed at Lord Ganesha when he fell from his vehicle, mooshak. Moon was then cursed by him for laughing, that whoever looks at moon on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi will be falsely accused of something.