Ganesh Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha (also know as Ganpati or Ganesh), the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. Ganehsa is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. However, while she bathed, Lord Shiva returned and as Ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged and severed the head of the child and entered his house. After realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant in place of Ganesha’s head. In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.
Typically the festival falls sometime between August 20 and September 15. People bring idols of Ganesha at their houses and worship it for 10 days. On the last day of the festival they immerse the idol in river or sea water.
In Pune, India, as the sun sets over darkening rivers, the idols are taken out in boats and as each one is immersed, a cry is raised asking him to return the next year. It is an emotional and public farewell to their beloved god, who will rise once again the following year.