Here’s when the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi takes place this year - and how it’s celebrated

The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi takes place each year, marking the birth of Lord Ganesha (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi takes place each year, marking the birth of Lord Ganesha.

But when will it take place during 2020, what does it signify and what is the festival’s history?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Ganesh Chaturthi?

Ganesha Chaturthi is an annual festival which marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Lord Ganesha is one of the most worshipped deities amongst Indian Hindus. The elephant God, who is also known as Vinayaka or Ganpati, is admired as the God of beginnings and the remover of obstacles.

The festival involves 10 days of celebration and takes place in the Bhadrapada month, as per the Hindu calendar.

Bhadrapada is a month of the Hindu calendar that corresponds to August and September in the Gregorian calendar.

What is the history behind the Ganesh Chaturthi festival?

Although it is not known exactly when Ganesh Chaturthi was first observed, it has been publicly celebrated in the Indian city of Pune since the era of Chhatrapti Shivaji (1630 to 1680).

Shivaji was an Indian King and founder of the Maratha kingdom. In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak, Indian freedom fighter and social reformer, made Ganesh Chaturthi a public festival.

When does the festival begin this year?

This year, the festival begins on Saturday 22 August. During the 10 days of commemorating Lord Ganesha’s birth, people rejoice as they entrust the Lord with their troubles.

How is Ganesh Charturthi celebrated?

During the festival, people bring or make clay idols (murtis) of Lord Ganesha. Ananta Chaturdarshi, is the final day of the festival, which sees the idols submerged in the nearest body of water, called Ganesha visarjan.

Rituals and traditional sweet making are part of the 10 day festivities, with the Ganesh idol worshipped in both the morning and the evening.

Flowers and sweets are made as offerings, and the puja (which is a worship ritual) ends with an ‘aarti’ for Ganesha and other deities.

Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light - usually from a flame - is offered to one or more deities.

Public celebrations of the festival are also usually popular. These are organised by local youth groups or neighbourhood associations, with funds for the celebrations collected from members of the community.

However, the festival is expected to be a low-key affair in many places this year compared with usual, due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions.