Definition - What does Ganesh Chaturthi mean?
Ganesh Caturthi is a 10-day long Hindu festival, celebrated throughout India. The festival is held every year in the Hindu month of Bhadra, which falls between mid-August and mid-September. Ganesh Chaturthi honours the birth of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu God, believed to be the remover of obstacles.
It is a public festival, in which local communities compete with one another to showcase the most impressive Ganesha statue and display.
Yogapedia explains Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi begins on the fourth day after the new moon in the month of Bhadra. It is usually celebrated for at least 10 days, reaching its peak on the final day known as Anant Chaturdasi. Although Ganesh Chaturthi is widely celebrated throughout India, the main celebrations take place in Pune, a city in Maharashtra state in which the festival originated more than 125 years ago.
During the festival, devotees visit temples to pray and pay their respects to Ganesha. Elaborately decorated statues of the Elephant God are installed in homes, towns and cities throughout Ganesh Chaturthi. A ceremony known as Pranapratishhtha Puja is performed to invoke the presence of Ganesha within the statues. This ritual involves mantra chanting, offerings and prayers to the God.
On the final day of the festival, Anant Chaturdasi, the Ganesha statues are paraded through the streets. During the parade, people gather to sing and dance, and the Ganesha statue is usually immersed in a body of water such as the ocean or a river. When Ganesha is underwater, it is believed that his presence leaves the statue and returns to Parvati and Shiva.