Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is an Indian festival that is celebrated with great devotion. Ganesha is the herald of auspicious beginnings and this festival marks the beginning of the festive season in India. Ganesh Chaturthi is observed in the month of Bhadra (Hindi month) on shukla chaturthi tithi (Hindi date) which is the fourth day of the waxing moon and it lasts for ten days. According to Puranas, on this very day, Parvati, mother of Ganesha created him. The last day is celebrated as Anant Chaturdashi (the fourteenth day of the waxing moon).
In Maharashtra (the state I am living in), it is the grandest festival and is celebrated in the most elaborate way. Clay Ganesha idol is installed in every home and in pandal/mandals in different localities with the chanting of mantras and hymns. The statue is then worshiped every morning and evening for ten days. People offer sweets, especially Modak, fruits, and flowers to the idol. It’s a celebration that connects people with each other. People gather in one place and they participate in all the activities with great enthusiasm. On the last day of the celebration, the idol is immersed in a river. During this period of time, one can feel a lot of positive energy in the environment.
This is how the festival is celebrated but in its true sense it has a great significance and every part of Ganesha idol itself is a treasure trove of symbols that depict so many good qualities. My father told me about all these qualities when I was kid and everything is still so clear in memory. He told me that when we look at Ganesha idol we should actually take on those qualities that the idol represents.