Ganesh Festival, popularly known as Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaturti, is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu God of wisdom and auspiciousness. In 2012, the date of Ganesh Festival is September 19. The Ganesha Festival ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the idol on Ananta Chaturdasi day on September 29. The elephant-faced Hindu god Ganesh is one of the most popular deities in Hinduism and is today worshipped around the world. Lord Ganesha is slowly becoming the face of Hindu religion.
Ganesh Festival is observed on the fourth day of the Shukla Paksha (Waxing Phase of moon) in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August - September).
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, Ganesh Festival is observed for 2 days. In other parts of , it is celebrated for one day on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. In some regions for three or five days. India
During Ganesh festival, an idol of Lord Ganesha is brought home. Special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha.
The origin of public celebration of Ganesh festival is traced to the period of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, who asked people to perform public celebration to promote culture and nationalism in the 17th century.
The large-scale Ganesh festival of today was revived by Lokmanya Tilak, freedom fighter, in the last decade of 19th century in Pune to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies. Large-scale Ganesh Festival celebrations take place in
Maharashtra with millions of people visiting the various community Ganesh Pandals.
Thousands of Ganesh statues are installed in various public places in
India and in and community centers around the world during Ganesh Festival. Hindu Temples
Millions of small Ganesh idols are installed in Hindu homes in
India, especially in Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. After the festival these statues are immersed in the sea (Ganesh Visarjan ceremony).
Ganesh Festival is also attracting lot of criticism from environmentalists and nature lovers primarily due to pollution caused by the use of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris.
Hinduism takes inspiration and lessons from Nature. Ganesha itself is a classic example of the relationship between Hinduism and Nature.
But still we Hindus do little to stop pollution and environmental degradation. At least we can stop creating more pollution in the name of Ganesha by only buying natural Ganesh idol and natural items for Ganesh Puja.
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