Ganesh has been a ubiquitous presence in Indian art, philosophy and ritual for many millennia. Now, interest in Ganesh’s symbolism and meaning have taken root outside of India. Ganesh’s image, with an elephant head and a human body, is easily recognizable to many Westerners. However, few outside of the Hindu religion are familiar with what he represents or the traditions associated with him.
For the world’s one billion Hindus, Ganesh is a powerful and majestic deity, said to bring good fortune when launching new endeavors. He is also considered a patron-deity of the arts and the Lord of beginnings. The iconography and history of Ganesh go far beyond his link with good fortune. The imagery associated with Ganesh offers a spiritual map of sorts, his every feature rich with meaning both practical and esoteric.
Ganesha Chaturthi (IAST: Gaṇeśa Chaturṭhī, sanskrit: गणेश चतुर्थी) or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, Chavath ( चवथ ) in Konkani and as Chathaa (चथा) in Nepal Bhasa. It is celebrated as it is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Typically, the day falls sometime between August 20 and September 15. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi. This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha. if chaturthi prevails on both days, the first day should be taken. Even if chaturthi prevails for complete duration of madhyahana on the second day, but if it prevails on previous day’s madhyahana period even for one ghatika (24 minutes) the previous day should be taken. (Ref. Dharmasindhu and Indian Calendric System, by Commodore S.K. Chatterjee (Retd). Madhyahana is the 3rd / 5th part of the day (Sunrise-sunset).
Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra,Goa ( Biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world ) Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. Outside India, it is celebrated by Newars in Nepal.