In Honor of Shri Ganesh Utsava
September 12 – 23, 2018
Ganesh Utsava is a festival dedicated to Lord Ganesh, one of the most beloved deities in Indian culture, who is known as the remover of obstacles and the lord of new beginnings. This festival is celebrated by many throughout India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. The festival commemorates the period when, according to legend, Sage Vyasa narrated the epic poem Mahabharata and Lord Ganesh wrote it down with his tusk.
The celebration begins on Ganesh Chaturthi (September 12* ). On this day, families bring statues of Lord Ganesh into their homes to welcome the deity and the qualities he represents, such as wisdom, understanding, and discrimination. They offer puja to Lord Ganesh every day of the festival, invoking his blessings for the year ahead. On the final day, Anant Chaturdashi (September 23), the statue of Lord Ganesh is carried to a body of water, such as the sea, a lake, or a river. The procession is accompanied by joyful dancing and singing. Lord Ganesh is then immersed in the water as everyone wishes him farewell, calling out, “Ganapatī bāppā Morayā, puḍhacyā varshī lavakar yā!”—a phrase in the Marathi language that means “Hail to Shri Ganesh! Come back soon next year!” The ritual symbolizes renewal—Lord Ganesh must depart but he will always return again.
* In India, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on September 13 in 2018.