Ganesha is the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is the god all Hindus turn to when they face difficulties in life; therefore, he is called the remover of obstacles. He is the first god to be worshipped when any new projects are undertaken. Ganesha Chaturthi is mainly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
In Mumbai (Bombay), located in the state of Maharashtra, preparations for Ganesha Chaturthi start months before the actual date. An idol of Ganesha is sculpted and installed in all government buildings, stores, and homes. Then, the idol is worshipped 7-10 days before the festival.
On the actual date of Ganesha Chaturthi, which can occur anytime from September to October, there are huge parades, with people carrying idols of Ganesha. Some idols can even be several feet tall. At the auspicious time, these idols are immersed in water while prayers are recited.
Lord Ganesha's favorite food is said to be modhaka. Places in South India call this sweet kozhakkattai. It is made on this day and distributed to friends and relatives.
Above: An idol of the elephant-headed god Ganesha. Idols such as these are submerged at an auspicious time during Ganesha Chaturthi.