The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 20 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).
While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in western and southern India. Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada and Fiji.
LORD GANESH - History
Though the festival is being celebrated since times immemorial, the present kind of celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi came in fashion in 1893, Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian freedom fighter and social reformer reshaped the annual Ganesh festival from a private family celebration into a community event. The day was conceived to be the National Festival in order to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins in the society. Tilak chose this festival for this purpose because Lord Ganesh was considered to be the ' God of Everyman'. It then served as a meeting ground for people of all community and religion on a public platform. Since then the festival has served its cause of existence. Even now people irrespective of caste and community barriers celebrate this festival with great joy.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with a belief that Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, bestows His blessings on His devotees, on this day. It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom. Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, which falls around August or September. The occasion becomes very lively and enthusiastic with the devotional songs, dances and drum beats being a part of the procession observed by the devotees of Lord Ganesha, as a part of the festivities. Ganesh Chaturthi is the only festival that involves and welcomes the participation of general public.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival of Maharashtra, celebrated grandly in other parts of India as well. The preparation starts one month in advance, with great enthusiasm, to celebrate this auspicious occasion. The festival starts with the installation of beautifully sculpted Ganesha idols in homes and mandaps. These idols are decorated beautifully and show religious themes. The occasion also sees various cultural events being held every where, in which people participate with interest. After celebration, the time of farewell comes and the idol of the beloved God is immersed in water. The celebration ends with the immersion, accompanied by loud shouts of 'Ganapati Bappa Moraya'.
LORD GANESH IS EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
Hundreds of years ago Hindu missionaries went to different countries. They carried with them the idols of Ganesha who was their supreme deity. They spread their ideas about his form, power and the symbolic significance of his form Merchants used to carry the idols of Ganesha to foreign countries so that their journey and trade may be free from obstacles. Perhaps, Ganesha came to be known to people of other lands for these reasons, Anyway, Ganesha is a popular God even in foreign countries.
Ganesha has different names, forms and symbolic significance in some countries. He is famous in different forms in Tibet, Nepal, Ceylon (now Srilanka), Afghanistan, China, Japan, Indonesia, - Cambodia, Thailand etc. In Burma there is one idol of Ganesha touching the ground with his hand. An idol of Vinayaka in Cambodia has only two shoulders. The idol of Ganapati in a Buddhistic monastery at Kung-Hsien in China carries the Chintamani (a precious gem) in the left hand. (The Chintamani is believed to be capable of granting any boon.)
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