CFCA serves more than 33,000 sponsored children and elderly in India, and many of them come from various faith traditions. If your sponsored friend is from the Hindu faith, it’s likely the Ganesh Chaturthi festival (which took place this year on Sept. 1) plays an important part in your friend’s life. Here’s an explanation of the festival from Sreekanth Gundoji, our communications liaison in Hyderabad.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an annual festival marking the birthday of Ganesha (also known as Vinayaka and Ganapati), the Hindu god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Celebrations continue for 10 days starting on Ganesh Chaturthi, which usually falls during the end of August or early September.
Hindus celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and respect.
Two to three months prior to the festival, artistic clay models of Ganesha are made by skilled artisans.
They are decorated and depict Ganesha in various poses. These statues vary from three-quarters of an inch to more than 50 feet tall.
(Durga Prasad, a CFCA sponsored child, helps his family make Ganesha statues for a living. You can read more about Durga Prasad and his family here.)
The Ganesha statue in this photo is 55 feet high.
People also offer laddu, an Indian candy, to the god and place it in the statue’s hands. On the 11th day the candy is distributed among the people.
The laddu in the hands of this statue can weigh more than 4,600 pounds (2,100 kilograms).