It is the birthday of Lord Ganesha who is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Two to three months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi, artistic clay models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale by specially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated.Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public.
The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions.
The mandapas are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.
The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modagam or modakam in South India). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried.
For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees, this is the ritual known as Ganesh Visarjan.
At individual homes the Visarjan is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya" (O lord Ganesha, come again speedily next year).
After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the statue to the river to immerse it.Pallavi Racherla