The festival generally lasts ten days, ending on the fourteenth day of the fortnight (Anant Chaturdashi).Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the Lord Ganesha. 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 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, particularly in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Odisha 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.
These is the the common belief that many devotees have; The concept of Ganesh Chaturthi is that Ganesha comes to the home of his devotees on Ganesh Chaturthi day. He brings auspiciousness, hope, success and happiness to all homes. During His brief stay, He removes all obstacles. While returning He takes with him all problems and unhappiness.
Ganesha Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival, also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' or 'Vinayaka Chavithi' is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
On the day of the festival, Clay Models of Lord Ganesha are placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents for people to view and pay their homage. The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes life into the idol amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is called 'pranapratishhtha'. After this the 'shhodashopachara' (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 'modakas' (rice flour preparation), 21 'durva' (trefoil) blades and red flowers are offered. The idol is anointed with red unguent or sandal paste (rakta chandan).
Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.
For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of all man.
All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya" (O father Ganesha, come again early next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idol to the river to immerse it.
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