Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.
Before the start of the festival, people start to buy Ganesh idols. Shops sell Ganesh idols in various shapes, even large ones that can reach up to a height of several meters. Upon bringing the idol home, the Hindus start to decorate the idol with flower garlands and lights. The devotees chant prayers and during the prayers, flowers, rice & coins are used. After the ceremony, sweets and fruits are offered to guests.
The Puja can be a simple one performed with family members within the household and to the accompaniment of a cassette of Shri Ganesh mantras, or an elaborate one, involving a priest who would come home and perform the puja. 'Modak' is the most famous and most typical food preparation of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. As long as the Ganesh idol is at home, Aarti is performed morning and evening (dusk, or at the hour when artificial lamps are lighted in the house). At the same time, all the members present throw Kumkum on the idol. After the Aarti, flowers, Haldi and Kumkum are offered to the women, and Prasad (made of dried desiccated coconut mixed with castor sugar) is distributed to all those present. During Ganesh Chaturthi, Aarti is performed five times: to the Ganesh idol, followed by Vitthal, Shankar (Shiva), Devi (Parvati) and Dattatreya (Kartikeya). The Aarti ends with a "Mantra Pushpanjali".