Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi) or Vinayaka Chavithi (Vinayaka Chavithi) is the Hindu festival that reveres the god Ganesha. A ten-day festival, it starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in the months of August or September of the Gregorian calendar. The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stages). Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as Ganapati Upanishad, prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and prasadam from the daily prayers, that is distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka believed to be a favorite of the elephant-headed deity. The festival ends on the tenth day after start, wherein the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in a nearby body of water such as a river or ocean. In Mumbai alone, around 150,000 statues are immersed annually. thereafter the clay idol dissolves and Ganesha is believed to return to Mount Kailash to Parvati and Shiva.
The festival celebrates Lord Ganesha as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles as well as the god of wisdom and intelligence and is observed throughout India, especially in the states such as Maharashtra, Goa, Telangana, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, and is usually celebrated privately at home in states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Ganesh Chaturthi is also observed in Nepal and by the Hindu diaspora elsewhere such as in the Trinidad, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius, United States and in Europe (in Tenerife).
At public venues, along with the reading of texts and group feasting, athletic and martial arts competitions are also held.
It is unclear when the festival started, it became a major social and public event with sponsorship of Shivaji after Mughal-Maratha wars, and again in the 19th century after public appeal by Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, who championed it as a means to circumvent the colonial British government ban on Hindu gatherings through its anti-public assembly legislation in 1892.
The earliest mention of Ganapati, now considered equivalent to Ganesha or Vinayaka, is found in the Rigveda. It appears twice in the Rigveda, once in hymn 2.23.1, as well as in hymn 10.112.9. Both of these hymns imply a role of Ganapati as "the seer among the seers, abounding beyond measure in food presiding among the elders and being the lord of invocation", while the hymn in mandala 10 states that without Ganapati "nothing nearby or afar is performed without thee", according to Michael. However, it is uncertain that the Vedic term Ganapati which literally means "guardian of the multitudes", referred specifically to later era Ganesha, nor do the Vedic texts mention Ganesha Chaturthi.
Ganapati appears in post-Vedic texts such as the Grhya Sutras and thereafter ancient Sanskrit texts such as the Vajasaneyi Samhita, the Yajnavalkya Smriti and the Mahabharata mention Ganapati as Ganesvaras and Vinayakas. Ganesha appears in the medieval Puranas in the form of "god of success, obstacle remover". The Skanda Purana, Narada Purana and the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, in particular, profusely praise him. Beyond textual interpretations, archeological and epigraphical evidence suggest Ganesha had become popular, was revered before the 8th century CE and numerous images of him are traceable to the 7th century or earlier. For example, carvings at Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples such as at the Ellora Caves, dated between the 5th and 8th century show Ganesha reverentially seated with major Hindu goddess(Shakti).
Public preparations for the festivities begin months in advance. Local Mandapa or Pandal's are usually funded either from donations by local residents or hosted by businesses or community organizations. The making of the Murti in Maharashtra usually begins with "Padya pooja" or worshipping the feet of Lord Ganesh. The Murti's are brought to "pandals" on the day or a day before the festival begins. The pandals have elaborate decoration and lighting.
At home, the festival preparation includes purchases such as puja items or accessories a few days in advance and booking the ganesh murti as early as a month beforehand (from local artisans). The murti is brought home either a day before or on the day of the ganesh chaturthi itself. Families decorate a small, clean portion of the house with flowers and other colourful items before installing the idol. When the Murti is installed, it and its shrine are decorated with flowers and other materials. On the day of the festival, The ceremonial installation of the clay murti (idol) is done along with chans of holy mantras and pooja including bhajans during a certain auspicious period of the day .
In preparation for the festival, artisans create clay models of Ganesha for sale. The Murti's range in size from 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) for homes to over 70 ft (21 m) for large community celebrations.
The date for the festival is usually decided by the presence of Chaturthi Thithi. The festival is held during "Bhadrapada Madyahanaa Purvabaddha". If the chaturthi thiti begins at night on previous day and gets over by morning on next day then the next day is observed as vinayaka chaturthi. In the consecration ceremony, a priest performs a Prana Pratishtha to invite Ganesha like a guest. This is followed by the 16-step Shodashopachara ritual, (Sanskrit: Shodash, 16; Upachara, process) during which coconut, jaggery, modaks, durva grass and red hibiscus (Jaswand) flowers are offered to the idol. Depending on the region and timezone, the ceremony commences with hymns from the Rigveda, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa, the Upanishads and the Ganesha stotra (prayer) from the Narada Purana are chanted. In Maharashtra as well as Goa, 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 meal is called Nevri in Goa and is synonymous with Ganesh festival amongst the Goans and the Konkani diaspora.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana 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.
Panchakajjaya is an offering made to Lord Ganesha during this festival in parts of Karnataka. It is a mixture of desiccated coconut, roasted Bengal gram powder, sugar, ghee and sesame. Different versions of panchakajjaya are made. Roasted Bengal gram, green gram, roasted chana dal (putani) or aval can be used
In India, Ganesha Chaturthi is primarily celebrated at home and in public by local community groups in the central and western states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa and the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Eastern states of Odisha
At prominent Temples
At Varasidhi Vinayaka swamy Temple in Kanipakam, Andhra Pradesh, annual brahmotsavams will be celebrated for 21 days starting from Vinayaka chavithi day. The processional deity of Vinayaka will be taken in a procession on different vahanams on these days amidst large number of pilgrims across the country
At homes in Maharashtra, families install small clay statues for worship during the festival. The Murti is worshiped in the morning and evening with offerings of flowers, durva(strands of young grass), karanji and modaks (jaggery and coconut flakes wrapped in rice flour dumplings). The worship ends with the singing of an aarti in honour of Ganesha, other Gods and Saints. In Maharashtra the Marathi aarti "Sukhakarta Dukhaharta", composed by the 17th century saint, Samarth Ramdas is sung. Family traditions differ about when to end the celebration. Domestic celebrations end after ?1 1/2, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days. At that time the Murti is ceremoniously brought to a body of water (such as a lake, river or the sea) for immersion. In Maharashtra, Ganeshotsav also incorporates other festivals, namely Hartalika and the Gauri festival, the former is observed with a fast by women on the day before Ganesh Chaturthi whilst the latter by the installation of Murti's of Gauris.
In Goa, Ganesh Chaturthi is known as Chavath in Konkani and Parab or Parva ("auspicious celebration"); it begins on the third day of the lunar month of Bhadrapada. On this day Parvati and Shiva are worshiped by women, who fast. Instruments such as ghumots, Crash cymbals ((taal) in Konkani) and pakhavaj (an Indian barrel-shaped, two-headed drum) are played during the rituals. The harvest festival, Navyachi Pancham, is celebrated the next day; freshly harvested paddy is brought home from the fields (or temples) and a puja is conducted. Communities who ordinarily eat seafood refrain from doing so during the festival.
In Karnataka the Gowri festival precedes Ganesha Chaturthi, and people across the state wish each other well. In Andhra Pradesh, Ganesha Murti'so of clay (Matti Vinayakudu) and turmeric (Siddhi Vinayakudu) are usually worshiped at home with plaster of Paris Murti's
Public celebrations of the festival are popular, and are organised by local youth groups, neighborhood associations or groups of tradespeople. Funds for the public festival are collected from members of the association arranging the celebration, local residents and businesses. The Ganesha idols and accompanying statues are installed in temporary shelters, known as mandaps or pandals. The festival features cultural activities such as singing, theater and orchestral performances and community activities such as free medical checkups, blood-donation sites and donations to the poor. Ganesh Chaturthi, in addition to its religious aspects, is an important economic activity in Mumbai, Surat, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. Many artists, industries, and businesses earn a significant amount of their living from the festival, which is a stage for budding artists. Members of other religions also participate in the celebration.
In Tamil Nadu the festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Pillayar Chaturthi, falls on the fourth day after the new moon in the month of Ava?i in the Tamil calendar. The idols are usually made of clay or papier-mâché, since plaster of Paris idols have been banned by the state government.. Idols are also made of coconuts and other organic products. They are worshiped for several days in pandals, and immersed in the Bay of Bengal the following Sunday. In Kerala the festival is also known as Lamboodhara Piranalu, which falls in the month of Chingam. In Thiruvananthapuram a procession marches from the Pazhavangadi Ganapathi Temple to Shankumugham Beach, with tall statues of Ganesha made from organic items and milk immersed in the sea
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated in the UK by British Hindu population living there. The Hindu Culture and Heritage Society, a Southall-based organisation, celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi for the first time in London in 2005 at the Vishwa Hindu Temple; the idol was immersed in the River Thames at Putney Pier. Another celebration, organised by a Gujarati group, has been celebrated in Southend-on-Sea and attracted an estimated 18,000 devotees. Annual celebrations are also held on the River Mersey in Liverpool.
The Philadelphia Ganesha Festival is one of the most popular celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi in North America, and it is also celebrated in Canada, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. The Mauritius festival dates back to 1896, and the Mauritian government has made it a public holiday. In Malaysia and Singapore, the festival is more commonly known as Vinayagar Chaturthi because of the large Tamil-speaking Hindu minority.
In Metropolitan France, Ganesh Chaturthee remains the main Hindu religious festival. The first Hindu Temple dedicated to Ganesh on Continental France opened in 1985 and the first procession took place in 1995. Since then, every year, the La Chapelle Quarters of Paris are the sight of a major procession with thousands of pilgrims and visitors. The organisation is mainly conducted by the Tamil speaking Sri Lanka community and the pilgrims are mostly Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka and to a lesser extent Hindi-speaking Hindus from Mauritius
The Madras High Court ruled in 2004 that immersion of Ganesh idols is unlawful because it incorporates chemicals that pollute the sea water. In Goa the sale of plaster-of Paris Ganesha idols has been banned by the state government and celebrants are encouraged to buy traditional, artisan-made clay idols. Recent initiatives to produce traditional clay Ganesha idols in Hyderabad have been sponsored by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board.
Due to environmental concerns, a number of families now avoid bodies of water and let the clay statue disintegrate in a barrel of water at home. After a few days, the clay is spread in the garden. In some cities a public, eco-friendly process is used for the immersion