Ganesh Chaturti is the Indian festival devoted to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God. Hinduism is ingrained with several festivals and occasion to give offerings to Gods. This particular celebration is to ensure that all new beginnings start with no obstacles.
Traditionally celebrated for 10 days, the festivities are filled with extreme pomp and show. Huge clay idols of Ganesha are fixed for public gatherings, while smaller ones are chosen for individual homes. At the end of the pujas, the idol is immersed in water, where it dissolves and disintegrates.
Moving on to the food, rows of delicacies are first offered to the idol and then savored by the worshipers. Jaggery stuffed rice dumplings (modaks), laddus and loads of other sweets are displayed to make us smack our lips together. Traditionally, people make their own sweets to offer, but now we tend to buy them from the sweetmeat shops.
Every year, our family celebrates Ganesh Chaturti with our family friends in their house where several guests are invited for lunch. Mangaloreans by blood, they serve their hometown specialties that they set about making from scratch early in the morning.
After making their offerings and saying their prayers, they set the banana leaves for us and we sit down to fill our tummies with delicious Mangalorean cuisine.
Bidding adieu, we come back home to attend the yearly apartment processions. The little kids dance and sing praises of Ganesha and the adults encourage them.
Later, with lots of fervor, the dhols and the drums take the idols away to be submerged in the nearest lake or river.