The slogans that fill the air. The festival of Lord Ganesha now celebrated not only in Maharashtra but celebrated throughout the world. It was Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who started 'Ganesh Utsav' and instil new faith in people. The purpose to start 'Ganesh Utsav' was to get people together and to forget their differences and to be united by goodwill. Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu Festival. It begins on the fourth day of the month of Bhadrapad in August or September. It lasts for eleven days and is celebrated all over the world.
Ganesh or Ganapati is the elephant-headed god of wisdom, son of Parvati and Shiva. He is the deity of prosperity. He is also the deity of learning. He is worshipped in the beginning of any good work. So people bring idols of Ganesh home and worship them with the great devotion during the festival. There are public celebrations at street corners and public places. Musical concerts, plays and other cultural programs are also held during these days. At the end of the festival, the idols are taken in procession to lakes, rivers or sea and immersed into the water. The processions are long, crowded and colourful. People dance and sing. They are happy and excited. They shout. 'Ganapati Bappa Morya. Pudhchya varshi lavkar yaa.' It means 'O Lord Ganesha, we bid goodbye to you now, but do come back soon next year.'
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, in its present form was began in Maharashtra. Other states in India also have now started celebrating it in a big way. During the ten day Ganesh Festival, Gauri Pooja is performed in many homes. Lord Ganesha's idol is brought home on Bhadrapada Shuddha Chaturthi(forth day). The celebration of Gauri comes after three days, which is the eighth day of the month Bhadrapada. Some people worship & install Gauris with Lord Ganesha. Gauri is another name of Goddess Parvati. Goddess Parvati or Gauri is worshiped in Jain's as 'Yakshini'. In the state Maharashtra(a state in India) Gauri is worshiped in four different ways.
Chaitra Gauri - which is worshiped in the month of Chaitra.
Mangala Gauri - which is worshiped & celebrated in the month of Shravan.
Hartalika - which is worshiped & celebrated on the third lunar day in the month of Bhadrapada.(on eve of Ganesh Chaturthi)
Jeshtha Gauri - which is worshiped & celebrated on the eighth lunar day in the month of Bhadrapada.
The invocation(Avahana) of Gauri is done on the Bhadrapada Shuddha Ashtami. Which is the Anuradha asterism(nakshatra). The Gauri is worshiped on Jeshtha asterism & immersed on the Mula asterism. In Maharashtra the Gauri pooja is celebrated for three days. This celebration is known to be as the Upasana of Gauri & MahaLasksmi.(Goddess of power & wealth)
Gauri Pooja is performed differently according to the regions of Maharashtra. Three main types of performing the Gauri pooja are Mukhavathyachya Gauri(the idol having the face of metal or clay), Khadyachya Gauri(worshipping five stones as Gauri) & Terdyachya Gauri(worshiping the tree/branch of Balsam/Terda as Gauri). Some people worship pictures of Gauri.