Ganesh Chaturthi marks Lord Ganesh’s birthday. This day marks his rebirth (पुनर्जन्म) with the head of an elephant that Lord Shiva put on his body.
The festival begins on the fourth day of the waxing moon period that is known as Shukla Chaturthi. On this day people bring in idols (मूर्तियों) of Lord Ganesh to their houses and perform rituals (धार्मिक क्रिया) to infuse (डालना) the deity (देवता) into the idol. What follows is ten days of regular (नियमित) puja to celebrate the homecoming of Lord Ganesh with fervor (उत्साह) and pomp (धूमधाम). On the tenth day, Uttarva pooja is performed so that the idol could be shifted after infusion (जान डालना). Finally the clay idol is immersed in water that signifies the return of Lord Ganesh to Mount Kailash to his parents Shiva and Parvati.
Offerings (प्रसाद) from the daily prayer mainly include yellow modaks, one of the favourites of Lord Ganesha. Devotees perform fasting and sing hymns (आरती) during these ten days.
The festival is celebrated with classic splendor (धूमधाम) in Maharashtra where communities worship huge idols with music and magnificence (भव्यता) that turns the entire state into the mood of festivity (उत्सव).
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