Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed god Ganesha, is considered auspicious throughout India because it is believed that any new activity begun on this day will be completed without any hurdles. Lord ganesh is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' or 'Vinayaka Chavithi', is celebrated during the month of Bhaadrapada (mid-August to mid-September) according to the Hindu calendar. Celebrations, which begin on Shukla Chaturthi, are usually held on the fourth day of the second fortnight or the 14th day of the fortnight which is known as Ananta Chaturdashi.
Devotees pray to Lord Ganesha for prosperity. Public pandals are put up and Ganesha idols installed by communities where people come to worship the lord. Families also bring idols home for a few days to mark the festival. Celebrations come to an end with the immersion of the huge idols in water bodies symbolising the seeing-off of the lord's journey towards his abode, taking all the misfortunes of mankind along with him.
The festival is celebrated across India with grand celebrations especially in Maharashtra, where devotees play the dhol and tashato mark the festivities. A delicacy called modak is prepared during the festival. Rice or flour is stuffed with grated jaggery, coconut and dry fruits. A single plate contains 21 pieces of the sweet dish.
Foodies wait for Modak, a sweet dish prepared using rice or flour stuffed with grated jaggery, coconuts and dry fruits. The plate containing the Modak is supposed to be filled with twenty-one pieces of the sweet.
The festival comprises four primary rituals - Pranapratishhtha (moulding the deity into a murti or idol), Shhodashopachara (16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha), Uttarpuja (Puja following which the idol could be shifted), Ganpati Visarjan (immersing the idol into the river).