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Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh or Vinayak Chaturti is the most popular Hindu festival in Goa, celebrated as a birthday of lord Ganesh, the elephant headed God.Ganesh is the God of wisdom, learning, prudence, success, good luck and power. His face and the cute round shape of his body makes him stand apart from other Gods. he has a snake tied around his big stomach and his carriage is the mouse. In most of his images his trunk is turned towards the left. Very rarely do we find images of Ganesh with the trunk turned towards the right.

Ganesh is the ever-present deity of India, on wedding invitations, at street shrines, on doorways, in every temple, and in many sculptures. Meetings, gatherings, weddings, functions and celebrations begin with a prayer to lord Ganesh and no new venture be it a new company, a new house or shop is inaugurated without reciting a mantra to Lord Ganesh.Ganesh festival is a family affair wherein all the family members of a clan join to celebrate the festival.

Ganesha is a great lover of sweets and fruits. You will find the maitoli that is put up when his idol is installed full of fresh fruits. The housewife makes a variety of sweets and Ganesh is worshipped with sweet balls, water, incense, flowers, scent, betel leaf and nivedya.His mantra is repeated and the nivedya is distributed as Prasad.

Days before the celebrations start people are busy preparing decorations that will vie with with others. New ideas are used for the decorations. Competitions are held and prizes are awarded to the best decorated Ganesh Mandal.The decorations include mythological scenes and sometimes modern day happenings. Theses scenes are called Chitrams and people from near and far flock to see these. The more prominent ones can be seen in Marcel, Cumbarjua, Siolim, Revora, Advavpal and some parts of Canacona.It is only in Goa that decorations are given importance in the households, unlike in Maharashtra where bright colored lights and decors are used in Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandaps only.

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