Ganesh Chaturthi, the most celebrated festival of Maharashtra, is known for its enthralling spirit among the people, especially of Mumbai and Pune. The festival is also celebrated throughout India with fervor and grandeur.
This spectacular festival honours the birth of Lord Ganesha and is worshipped to remove all obstacles and bring good fortune.
The festival takes place late August or early September, depending on the cycle of the moon. It falls on the fourth day after the new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. In 2019, Ganesh Chaturthi comes on Monday, September 2. The festival extends over 11 days with the biggest spectacle happening on the last day called Anant Chaturdasi day, which falls on September 12, 2019.
Irrespective of caste and creed, people come out in huge numbers to celebrate with great enthusiasm. Idols of Lord Ganesha are installed at homes or pandals for 11 days and on the last day it is taken out to the sea or other water bodies to immerse.
It is believed that the festival has been publicly celebrated in Pune since the era of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and when the colonialists took over India, the festival became a private family celebration in Maharashtra. Later, it was the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, who bridged the people of different classes and castes together to unite them against the British rule.
To mark the festival, clay models of God are brought home by the devotees and worshipped for 10 days. Women make modaks, Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweet, to offer him during prayers. The same procedure is followed for 10 days. On the 11th day, the idol is taken on a procession through the streets of the city and is then immersed in water near a sea coast or a riverbank.
It is believed that Lord Ganesha himself descends on Earth to bless his devotees on this day and anyone who worships him during this time is certain to find success in whatever he endeavours.
However this year, due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations have been affected.
May Lord Ganesha get us all out of this worst time. May his blessings shower upon the world.