Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, marks the birth of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed God in Hindu mythology.
The 10-day-long festival represents the typical Indian celebratory madness, with colours, music and dance. It is mainly observed in Maharashtra, Gujarat and South India and mostly falls in the month of Bhadra, i.e, from mid August to mid September, according to the Hindu calendar.
This year, India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi on 17 September with great fervour and joy.
Lord Ganesh, who is known by 108 different names, is considered to be a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, wisdom and wealth.
Why Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated?
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati created a little boy by using her sandalwood paste in Lord Shiva's absence. She asked him to guard the entrance while she was bathing. As he didn't know who Shiva is, the child got into a tiff with him when Shiva tried to enter. An angry Shiva severed the head of the boy, enraging Parvati.
Witnessing her pain and anger, Shiva promised to bring back the boy. He asked Brahma and his followers to bring back the head of the first creature they see with its head facing North. They brought back the head of a mighty elephant, which Shiva placed on the boy's body and brought him back to life. He was then named as Ganesh. That's how Gajanana was born.
How is it celebrated?
Pandals (tents) are set up in almost every locality for 10 days to celebrate the festival on a grand note. Prior to the festival, houses are cleaned and special food, including delicious sweets, are prepared for the occasion.
A ritual known as Pranapratishhtha, that involves chanting of mantras by the priest, is a common sight during the occasion.
On the first day, people buy clay idols of Lord Ganesh in different shapes and sizes and place them at their homes and pandals. Special Ganpati prayers, songs and devotional chanting, especially 'Ganpati Bappa Morya', are heard everywhere.
The Ganesh idols will be worshipped for 10 days. On the 11th day, the idol will be immersed in a river or sea, which is called Visarjan.
Check out the above slideshow for Ganesh Chaturthi Picture Messages.