India: The Ganesh Chaturthi
First Online: July 23, 2000
Page Last Updated: April 04, 2014
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh
on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada month
of Hindu calendar. It is among the most celebrated of the festivals in
India, and perhaps the only one involving general public (others only
involve families and friends and are celebrated privately).
interesting to note that the festival was not celebrated until the times
of Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who
used it a great means to unite Hindus all over India and educate them the
evils of colonization.
The festivities include fund-raising, building
all kinds of innovative forms Ganesh idols, organizing public performances of music and
dance, cooking grand feasts and making a lot of noise. The festivities end
when the idol of the year is immersed in water (visarjan),
accompanied by loud shouts of Ganapati Bappa Moraya!
(portrait - biography)
visualized the cultural importance of this diety and brought in
Ganesha Chaturthi as National Festival. It was an important festival during
Peshwa rule in Maharashtra, but acquired more organized from all over India during
the Swaraj movement (see Tryst with Destiny -- The story of India's struggle for freedom remains as a guiding light for resolving the various conflicts around the globe). It made way for learned discourses, dance dramas, poetry
recital, musical concerts bringing together all castes and communities who vied
with enthusiasm in organizing this public festival. The all-pervading Gajanana
(another name of Ganesh) has countless temples all over India and is worshipped
with more affection than awe in every Hindu home.