But that's just a glimpse of the public celebration.
We've compiled a list of things that you need to know about the festival, the way it is celebrated in homes:
So basically, Ganesh festival or Ganeshotsav, is celebrated to mark the Hindu god Ganesha's birthday. The first day of the festival is called Ganesh Chaturthi, because according to the Hindu calendar, it falls on the fourth day of the month Bhadrapada.
Having the Ganeshotsav at home is a big deal, and a sort of a covent that is followed over generations. So before the actual Ganesh Chaturthi, people usually shop for their Ganesh idol several days before. If you happen to buy it before and bring it inside your house before the actual day, most people wrap it inside a cloth or a bag.
Decorations are a huge deal for people who celebrate Ganeshotsav at home. Different types of flowers, twinkly lights, perfumed candles are usually a part of it. So the decorations are usually kept ready one day before Ganesh Chaturthi and the Ganesh idol is then kept on a small elevated platform.
Every day fresh flowers (it is said that lord Ganesha is fond of red flowers) and delicious naivedyam (a food item) are first offered to Lord Ganesha and then distributed amongst all the people present.
The naivaidyam usually is of a wide variety — but the main one is the modak. This food item looks like a momo, but is made of rice flour, coconuts, ghee and jaggery.
One of the most important things about the naivaidayam, though, is that it is always offered in 21 numbers (if it is a solid item, of course). It is considered holy and lucky for the family.
A plate of delicious modaks.
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On day three, in several households, Lord Ganesha's mother, goddess Gauri arrives. She is also decorated with jewelry, new saris and flowers. Her stay is short —on the fifth day of the Ganesh festival, she is then immersed in a large body of water, like a river or the ocean.
Depending on the household traditions, the duration of Ganpati's stay varies from 1.5, 3, 5, 7, to 10 days. For example, a house where Lord Ganesha stays for 10 days, his immersion in water happens on day 11.