Panaji, Sep 17: Thousands of devouts in Goa ushered in Ganesh Chaturthi on Thursday by bringing home clay idols of the elephant-god and formally installing them in their homes.
The Ganesh festival or Ganesh Chaturthi, along with Christmas, is the most popular festival in the state and is celebrated in individual households rather than as a public festival like in neighbouring Maharashtra.
The festivities range from celebrations which last for a day-and-half, five days, seven days or 21 days during which the idol of Lord Ganesha is worshipped ceremonially twice every day.
In a message, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said the festival created a sense of togetherness and a bond between families and friends.
"Lord Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom, wealth and destroyer of evils and obstacles. Through his worship, we feel better about life, rising above the lower emotions of insecurity, fear, anger and jealousy and instead experience peace and contentment," Parsekar said.
Goa Archbishop Fr. Filipe Neri Ferrao said in his message that Ganesh Chaturthi fostered healthy social and community ties even in a culture of globalisation.
"This culture has brought benefits in terms of educational and healthcare facilities, greater awareness of democracy and social justice. We pray that, inspired by this festival that lifts the mind towards the transcendent - signified by one foot of the deity lifted high - the high values of god may prevail upon all," Ferrao said.