GaneshChaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi (also known as Vināyaka Caturthi, Gaṇēśa Caturthī or Vināyaka Cavithi ) is the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Chaturthi (Hindi चतुर्थी) means “fourth day” or “fourth state”. Celebrations are traditionally held on the fourth day of the first fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhaadrapada in the Hindu calendar, usually August or September in the Gregorian calendar. The festival generally lasts ten days, ending on the fourteenth day of the fortnight (Anant Chaturdashi).

The festival is celebrated in public and at home. The public celebration involves installing clay images of Ganesha in public pandals (temporary shrines) and group worship. At home, an appropriately-sized clay image is installed and worshiped with family and friends. At the end of the festival, the idols are immersed (and dissolve) in a body of water such as a lake or pond.

It is celebrated throughout India, especially in Maharashtra. There is a grand celebration in the state of Maharashtra by traditional instrument called dhol and tasha. It is also celebrated in the other parts of India such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa,Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and other parts of western and southern India.Abroad, Ganesh Chaturthi is observed in the Terai region of Nepal and by the Hindu diaspora in the United States, Canada and Mauritius.

The festival begins with the selection and installation of a clay murti (idol). At home, families decorate a small, clean corner with flowers and other colourful items before installing the idol. Public preparations begin weeks in advance with temporary structures (such as mandapas and pandals) funded by contributions from local residents and businesses. When the idol is installed, it and its shrine are decorated with flowers and other materials.

In preparation for the festival, artisans create clay models of Ganesha for sale. The idols range in size from 3⁄4 inch (1.9 cm) for homes to over 70 ft (21 m) for large community celebrations.

In the consecration ceremony, a priest performs a Prana Pratishtha to invite Ganesha into the idol. This is followed by the 16-step Shodashopachara ritual, (Sanskrit: Shodash, 16; Upachara, process) during which coconut, jaggery, modaks, durva (grass) and red flowers are offered to the murti. Throughout the ceremony, hymns from the Rigveda, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa, the Upanishads, and the Ganesha stotra (prayer) from the Narada Purana are chanted. Aartis are performed with friends and family, typically in the morning and evening.

The primary sweet dish during the festival is modak (modak in Marathi and Konkani, modakam or kudumu in Telugu, modaka or kadubu in Kannada, kozhakatta or modakkam in Malayalam and kozhukattai or modagam in Tamil). A modak is a dumpling made from rice or wheat flour, stuffed with grated coconut, jaggery, dried fruits and other condiments and steamed or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karjikai in Kannada), similar to modak in composition and taste but in a semicircular shape.This sweet meat is called Nevri in Goa and is synonymous with Ganesh festival amongst the Goans and the Konkani diaspora.

In Andhra Pradesh and Kerala modak, laddu, vundrallu (steamed, coarsely-ground rice-flour balls), panakam (a jaggery-, black pepper- and cardamom-flavored drink), vadapappu (soaked moong lentils) and chalividi (a cooked rice flour and jaggery mixture) are offered to Ganesha. These offerings are known as naivedya, and a plate of modak traditionally holds 21 pieces of the sweet. In Goa, modak and a Goan version of idli (sanna) is popular.