Sep 7 (): Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. This year, 2013 Ganesh Chaturthi falls on September 9.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a main festival that is celebrated across India over a period of 10 days. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (4th day of the bright fortnight of the Tamil month Aavani). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 or 12 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi.
Artistic clay models of Lord Ganesha are made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. The size of this idol may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet. On the day of the festival, the clay models will be beautifully decorated and placed on raised platforms in homes or in richly decorated outdoor tents for people to view and offer their prayers. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered.
On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, people meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, they go to the temple and offer prayers to Lord Ganesha.
For 10 days, from Bhaadrapada Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.
On the 11th day, the decorated clay idols are taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river.
While celebrated all over India, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated elaborately in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana.