Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day festival that typically falls in the Hindu month of Bhadra (August or September). The celebrations commence with the installation of beautifully crafted clay idols of Lord Ganesha in homes and public places. These idols are worshipped with great devotion during the ten-day period.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife, created Lord Ganesha from the dirt and oil she used for her bath. She breathed life into the clay idol and assigned him the duty of guarding the entrance while she took a bath. Lord Shiva, unaware of Ganesha’s existence, tried to enter, resulting in a confrontation that led to Ganesha’s beheading. Later, Lord Ganesha was brought back to life with an elephant head and became the beloved God of wisdom and success.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with diverse customs and traditions across India. While the festival is most extravagant in states like Maharashtra, where massive processions and public celebrations are common, it is also observed with devotion in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and various other regions. Each state adds its unique touch to the festivities.
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness about the environmental impact of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. To mitigate the pollution caused by immersing idols made of non-biodegradable materials, many people are now opting for eco-friendly clay idols and natural dyes for decoration. This eco-conscious approach is essential to protect our environment.
On the tenth day of the festival, known as Anant Chaturdashi, the clay idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in water bodies like rivers or oceans. This act symbolises the departure of Lord Ganesha to his heavenly abode, taking away with him the troubles and obstacles of his devotees. It’s a poignant moment of bidding farewell to the beloved God.