Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrating the elephant-headed god Ganesh (also called Ganpati or Ganesha). Ganesh is one of India’s most well known gods. He is highly revered as the remover of obstacles, the god of new beginnings and the god of good fortune. Because of this, his image is found everywhere in India and he is invoked before the undertaking of any task.
Ganpati, as the festival is colloquially known, is one of my favorite holidays in India (second only to Holi). It is a long festival that completely takes over the city of Mumbai sweeping everyone up in its delightful chaos. It is also the time of year when my son was born. From a young age my son gravitated towards anything elephant. Maybe his being born on the auspicious final submersion day really did create a connection to Ganesh!
Ganpati is celebrated between August and September, based on the moon cycle. Celebrations last for 11 days ending with a raucous celebration and submersion into a body of water on the last day. While celebrated all over India, the most elaborate celebrations happen in Mumbai and throughout the state of Maharashtra. If you are in India during this time, find your way to Mumbai!