The Hindu Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10 day festival that is celebrated during the Hindu month of Bhadra- between the 19th of August and the 20th of September. It is celebrated as the birthday or rebirth of Lord Ganesh and is also known as ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ or ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’. This year it will be celebrated on the 9th of September.
Lord Ganesh is worshiped by Hindus as the God of wisdom, good fortune and prosperity. He is represented as having the head of an Elephant.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated by Hindus all over the world, it is however most popular in India, especially in the state of Maharashtra. On the day of the festival, life like models of Lord Ganesh are placed in homes and ‘Pandals’ (specially erected temporary structures) for people to view and pay homage. These Pandals are specially decorated and are usually theme based. They are erected by the people of a locality. Cultural performance like singing and stage performances also occur. Ganesh Chaturthi cards are sent to friends and family, sharing the blessings of Lord Ganesh.
In this way Lord Ganesh is worshiped for the next 10 days. On the 11th day, the models are taken in an elaborate procession and are immersed in a nearby river, pond or even in the sea. This is a symbolic see-off of Lord Ganesh, who is to travel to his holy abode and take with him all the misfortunes of man.