Shiva had granted a boon to Ganesha that before anything auspicious is begun, Ganesha’s name would be invoked… So Ganesha also represents the beginnings of anything good.
When light passes through a prism and breaks into its constituent colours, Red is the first colour visible to the human eye… The beginning! Lord Ganesha’s signature colour is red. How astonishingly scientific!
Every year, especially in the city of Mumbai, around the beginning of September, the festival of Lord Ganesha is celebrated with great reverence, enthusiasm and joy. Lakhs of idols of Ganeshji are installed for 10 days with great pomp and ceremony. Small idols find their way in various people’s houses and really giant ones (3 floors high) are installed in various colonies all over the city. Poojas and Aartis are done, Prasad is given… And everyone has a great time.
The energy and feeling of the entire city completely changes as the atmosphere gets charged with the mantras and the devotion of millions of people… It is a magical time to be there…
On the last day however, all these idols are taken and submerged into the seas off the coast of Mumbai… To the cries of “Ganapati Bappa Moriya!! Pudhcha Varshi Laukar Yaa!!!” Meaning Victory to Lord Ganesha, Come back to us quickly next year…
(By the way, this does affect the seas and the environment, but more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious and having Ganeshji’s idols made out of quickly degradable materials… I am sure soon we will see very green Ganapati Festivals in Mumbai!)
There is a great significance to this: All the Gods are within us… In every cell of our Being. During the festivals, with great reverence we ask them to manifest themselves in the idols so we can worship them and play with them… Once we are done with the celebration, the final Pooja mantras actually invite the Gods back within us… So now its just a pretty statue… And so that we can learn non attachment, all the idols are put in the sea… This is done every year, to keep reminding ourselves about our own Divinity… And of course to celebrate and enjoy this great journey called Life!
Have a great day!