Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations Across India and the Globe

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations Across India and the Globe

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The full moon shines bright, indicating the start of another lunar month of the Hindu calendar. Bhadrapada, the sixth month starting in the end of August, brings with it the exciting and lively Ganesh Chaturthi festival. This is a time of devotion and celebration dedicated to Lord Ganesh, one of the most beloved gods in the Hindu pantheon.

Also known as Ganpati or Vinayaka Chaturthi, the festival starts on the fourth day of the lunar month and is celebrated with gusto over 11 days, ending in a truly magnificent event across most parts of the country and the globe.

How is Ganpati or Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrated?

Though the festivities follow a similar basic belief and structure, there is an amazing variety in the celebrations. One common theme is the offering of prayers to idols of Lord Ganpati, with these idols then being immersed in water to honor the Hindu belief that physical bodies turn back into energy in the cosmic cycle of life and death.

Prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles

The festival is observed throughout the country in many religious sects, each on a different scale and with its own method. In a country as wide and vivid as India, it’s not really surprising to find everything from a solemn prayer to a truly massive procession filled with music and dancing, accompanying statues varying in size from a few centimeters to over a hundred feet and the chant ‘Ganpati Bappa Moriya’ echoing throughout!

Let’s look at the way people celebrate the festival in major cities:

Celebrations in Mumbai

Mumbai is known as the financial and film capital of India, though if you’ve ever had the opportunity of watching the Ganesh Visarjan in the city, your mind is probably thinking ‘religious capital’ too. While this is definitely debatable, the grand scale of the Ganpati celebrations cannot be argued. The city known for its energy and vibrancy can challenge mass celebrations around the world, with an estimate of over 1,50,000 idols being immersed every year, and people out in such huge numbers it actually makes the other days seem quite calm!

Maharashtra, Goa and Southern cities have some of the largest Ganpati processions

This day unites Mumbaikars and immigrants alike, with the latest trend being a very pleasant focus on keeping it eco-friendly. If you are anywhere near Mumbai or you want to witness one of largest celebrations in the world, make sure you don’t miss this one, especially at the Siddhavinayak Temple, Khetwadi Ganraj Mandal with the 40-foot tall idol, the G.S.B. Seva Mandal, adorned with kilos of real gold, or you could chance the crowds at the most famous one, the Lalbaugcha Raja near Parel.

Festivities in Delhi

Delhi isn’t just the political capital of India, it’s also more-or-less the cultural capital. People from every corner of the country and the world have made this cosmopolitan city their home. Though it wasn’t traditionally observed in most of North India the way it is in Maharashtra, Goa and Southern states, Ganesh Chaturthi is now quite popular in this city and celebrated on quite a large scale.

Bring Lord Ganesh into your home this Ganesh Chaturthi

Perhaps the largest gatherings are to be found at the Sree Vinayak Temple in Sarojini Nagar, though Pandals and Ganesh Mandirs are spread all over the capital. Some communities even gather donations to build their own mandals just for this event. Many houses have idols on display and organize neighborhood prayer ceremonies. The visarjan usually takes place in the Yamuna River, with the trend of using eco-friendly clay or coir idols catching on fast.

Celebrations across the Globe

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by Indians as well as people from other cultures who enjoy the delightful processions and festivities, so in case you’re not in India, don’t think you’re going to miss out on the joyful rituals. Contact the nearest Hindu Mandir in your city and they’ll be able to tell you the ‘how and where’ of the local festivities. Get the community together, make some sumptuous Indian sweets and have a gala time!

                                          Ganesh Temple in Thailand

In the UK there are plenty of venues like the Slough Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple in Hounslow, Darji Mitra Mandal in London and many more. In the USA, there are a lot of Indian communities like the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple and the Shiva Vishnu Temple in Livermore. If you’re in Australia, you could check out the Pennel Reserve Hall in Braybook or the Chinmaya Mission for details. No matter where you are in the world, there’s bound to be a community of Indians which will be celebrating this festival.

Make Ganpati Special for your Loved Ones

If you want to celebrate the Ganpati festival, bring in an idol of Lord Ganesh and offer prayers to him. He is believed to be the remover of obstacles and bringer of prosperity in the Hindu culture, with prayers and sweets offered to him on major auspicious occasions and festivals like Diwali too. Different sects offer prayers for 1.5, 5, 7 or 11 days, but this really depends on cultural and family traditions.     

 Ethnic gifts and idols of the lord are popular choices for gifts

It’s also a great time to start new ventures, upgrade your home and delight your family with gifts. Traditional and ethnic clothing are always top favorites, as are coir idols and home decor accessories celebrating everyone’s beloved god.

PeachMode Wishes you a Joyful and Blessed Ganesh Chaturthi 2014. Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Images Courtesy: Ishan ManjrekarThejas PanarkandyPranav Hundekari on Flickr (Creative Commons

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