Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha. This day falls on the fourth day of the month of Bhadarvo in the Hindu calendar. This Hindu God is the remover of all obstacles. The elephant-headed God, Ganesha is Lord Shiva and Parvati’s youngest son.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious 11 day festival. Ganesha is usually depicted by the colour red. His elephant-head, huge ears, one broken tusk, characteristic pot belly, four hands holding a pasam, goad, laddus and a pot of rice makes him easy to identify among millions of Hindu Gods and Goddess. Ganesha’s ‘vahan’ is a mouse which is seen as a companion at his temples. Lord Ganesh is the destroyer of obstacles, leading one to success. He symbolizes new beginnings, and so devotees pray to Lord Ganesh at the start of ceremonies or the beginning of any venture seeking his blessings. Ganesh is the God of prosperity and good fortune.
After the start of the British Raj, the Ganesha festival lost state patronage and become a private family celebration in Maharashtra until its revival by Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak. The British colonial authorities called him “The father of the Indian unrest”. He was also conferred with the tittle of ‘Lokmanya’ which means “ accepted by the people as their leader”. His original name was Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
The Shree Pretoria Hindu Seva Samaj in association with Neelesh bhai from RV Foods in Laudium celebrates this eleven day Ganesh Chaturthi festival. One the first day Stapna puja is done. This is when Lord Ganesha is welcomed. Aarti is performed every morning and evening . Varoius Bhajan groups from Laudium and surrounding areas are invited to render bhajans in the name of Lord Ganesha. Around 150 to 200 people attend the Ganesh Yagna and Rass Garba. People partake in the 108 aarti for Ganesha. Maha Prasad is serve everyday to all that attends this function. Around 300 to 400 people attend daily. The atmosphere is charged with spiritualism like no other.
This festival ends with a colour procession through the streets of Laudium where people enjoy playing with colours and dancing to beautiful music. Then they proceed to the river where the Ganeshas are immersed in water.