Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Ganesh (The Elephant God), the god of wisdom and prosperity on the fourth day of the moons bright fortnight, or period from new moon in the lunar month of Bhadrapada. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi continue for five, seven, or ten days. Some even stretch it to twenty one days, but ten the most popularly celebrated. It is also known as Ganesh Utsav or Vinayaka Chaturthi. In the tradition of the right hand path, The First Day is the most important. In the left hand path tradition, The Final Day i.e. Ananth Chaturdashi is most important.
Legend has it that Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood dough that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath. When her husband, Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him. Shiva severed the head of the child and entered his house. Parvati, learning that her son was dead, was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha.
The festival is so popular that the preparations begin months in advance. Ganesha statues installed in street corners and in homes, and elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration, mirrors and the most common of flowers. Poojas (prayer services) are performed daily. The artists who make The Ganesh Idol compete with each other to make bigger and more magnificent and elegant idols. The relevantly larger ones are anything from 10 meters to 30 meters in height.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi enthusiastically celebrated all over India. It is popularly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and many other parts of India. Started by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, to promote culture and nationalism, the festival was revived by Lokmanya Tilak (a freedom fighter) to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies.
On Ganesh Chaturthi, the best or popular gifts given are Ganesh idols, Gift Hampers etc. Send gifts to your relatives and friends to mark the Occasion. May Lord Ganesha bless you all with health, wealth and happiness on this auspicious day!