Ganesha Chaturthi is famous Hindu festival and celebrated throughout India. Ganesha Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and it is observed as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. While celebrated all over India, the celebrations are the most elaborated and the grandest in Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka. Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad are some of the most significant cities to watch and enjoy Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations.
Ganesha Chaturthi is also known as Siddhi Vinayaka Chaturthi and Ganesha Chauth. It is considered the most important day to worship Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is considered the God of wisdom and remover of all obstacles. He is worshipped first among all Gods and before starting any Puja or ritual.
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. Although there are contradictory views on the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, most people celebrate it on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada lunar month and the day is popularly known as Ganesha Chaturthi.
As per Ganesha Purana and Skanda Purana, Lord Ganesha was born on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month. However, as per Shiva Dharma Lord Ganesha was born on Krishna Chaturthi during Magha month.
In North India, Magha Krishna Chaturthi is observed as Sakat Chauth. Although, Sakat Chauth is not observed as birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, it is considered a significant day to worship Lord Ganesha. In Maharashtra and Konkan regions, Shukla Chaturthi during Magha month is observed as Ganesha Jayanti and it is celebrated as birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha apart from Ganesha Chaturthi. The reason to observe Ganesha Jayanti during Shukla Paksha and not during Krishna Paksha as mentioned in Shiva Dharma is not clear.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi.
As per Amanta as well as Purnimanta Hindu Calendar -
Shukla Paksha Chaturthi (4th day) of Bhadrapada (6th month)
Ganesha Chaturthi is an optional gazetted holiday in India. Hence, most government offices, businesses, schools and colleges remain open during Ganesha Chaturthi.
Anant Chaturdashi which falls after 10 days of Ganesha Chaturthi is considered significant to bid farewell to Lord Ganesha. Anant Chaturdashi is the culmination day of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations when the idols of Lord Ganesha are offered to water body through Visarjan and immersion.
Compare to Ganesha Chaturthi, public life is significantly affected on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi as the grand street processions are taken out with much fun and frolic. The roads and streets are blocked with devotees of Lord Ganesha. The movement of vehicular traffic on some significant roads is blocked due to several Ganesha processions.
In some states, the day of Anant Chaturdashi is declared as dry day to control and minimize untoward incidents. The authorities keep vigil to prevent any communal tension getting escalated during Ganesha procession. On a dry day all liqueur shops remain closed and all hotels and restaurants except five stars are prohibited to serve alcohol by local authorities.
Anant Chaturdashi is listed under restricted government holidays. Hence, individuals can take a day off on the day of Ganesha Visarjan. The system of restricted holidays in India gives individuals the flexibility to take time off to celebrate those festivals which are important to their region and religion.