Birthday of Ganesh

Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the Hindu god of wisdom and success.

It can last up to 10 days during the Hindu Month of Bhadra, which usually falls between mid-August and mid-September.  This year in the UK it starts on 2nd September.

Hindus honour Ganesh as the god of good fortune and new beginnings.  He was the elephant headed son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.  Ganesh is also referred to as Ganapati or Vinyaka.  He is a popular god of wisdom and prosperity, worshipped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune.  This is why Hindus often invoke him at the outset of any auspicious events and rituals such as marriage, journeys, etc.

On the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, ardent followers of the god meditate early in the morning on the stories connected with Ganesh.  After taking a bath, they go to the temple and offer prayers to him, along with coconut and sweet pudding.  They pray with faith and devotion that he will remove all the obstacles they experience on their spiritual path.  They also worship him later on at home.

The biggest spectacle, called Anant Chaturdasi, takes place on the final day.  This is when celebrations conclude with the immersion in water of an image of Ganesh.

Life-like clay models of Ganesh are made in advance of the festival.  These can vary in size from very small to over 7metres.  Once an image of Ganesh is created, a special ceremony is undertaken to invoke the god’s holy presence into the image.  Offerings of sweets, flowers, rice, coconut and coins are made to the deity, and the image is also anointed with red powder.  Prayers are offered to Ganesh every day during the festival, and temples devoted to him organise special events and prayers.  Those who have an image of Ganesh in their house also treat and care for him as a well beloved guest.  Ganesh is worshipped each day and then on the final day is immersed in water, preferably in a lake, river or the sea.  This can be a community event with a procession, but those who have a small model at home immerse it there.  This symbolises his journey towards his abode in Kailash, where he takes with him each year the misfortunes of all humanity.

A clay model of Ganesh that someone might make and have at home


Mary Vickers moved to North East Lincolnshire in 2010, from the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, to become Urban and Industrial Chaplain NELincs. Made redundant in 2017, she's maintained many of her connections within the business, faith, and other local communities. She's also decided to stay here rather than return to either the south or her husband's native Yorkshire, so that she can continue to enjoy and help promote the positives of NELincs.

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