Ganesh Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh, the elephant -headed god of all good beginnings and success. The festival celebrated as the birth day of Lord Ganesha, held annually in South India especially with great fervor in Maharashtra, is a ten day long event.
On the occasion of the Ganapati festival, a large number of idols are made of clay or metal in all possible sizes sometimes even up to twenty feet. On the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapad, the great festival of Ganesh or Ganpati is celebrated. This festival marked the birthday of Lord Ganesh.
Ganpati is one of the most popular deities. Both Shaivites and Vaishnavites worship him. Even Buddhists and Jains have respect for Ganpati.
He is considered to be an avatar of both Shiva and Vishnu. To appreciate this occasion, one must go to Khurda where preparations begin months in advance. In this day images of Ganesha are installed within homes as well as in places of assembly in whole Orissa.
Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting and decoration and Ganesha is fervently worshipped for about 4-5 days. It is customary to begin a child's education on this day. Schools, colleges and other places of learning organize special worship of Lord Ganesha. Many schools and colleges also organize cultural activities. The most significant aspect of this day is that Hindu children are taught reading and writing their first words on this day - as it is considered an auspicious day to begin a child's education. Everyone will have vegetarian meal on this day. Floral offerings are made in a big scale. Books, articles, instruments of music and arts, earthen inkpots and bamboo quills are placed before her.