City on the streets: Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai

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Madness of festivity prevails on Mumbai streets on the occassion of Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of the god Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati.

It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day when Ganesha was born. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

Today, the Ganesh Festival is not only a popular festival, it has become a very critical and important economic activity for Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. Many artists, industries, and businesses survive on this mega-event. Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public. In Maharashtra, not only Hindus but many other religions also participate in the celebration like Muslims, Jains, Christian and others. In Mangalore, there is a belief that the eldest son of the home should be present during pooja.

In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organized public event. Tilak recognized the wide appeal of the deity Ganesha as "the god for everybody", and popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival in order "to bridge the gap between Brahmins and 'non-Brahmins' and find a context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them", and generate nationalistic fervour among people in Maharashtra against the British colonial rule. Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesh in pavilions, and also established the practice of submerging in rivers, sea, or other pools of water all public images of the deity on the tenth day after Ganesh Chaturthi.

Source: Wikipedia


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