With Janamashtmi gone last week, it’s Ganesh Chaturthi tomorrow. And, while it’s a huge festival down South, we Dilikhors are just left scratching our heads and wondering, “ye ho kya rha hai!” But, if Ganesh Chaturthi IS celebrated at your house, then you can actually understand all the excitement. The fragrance of your mother steaming coconut modaks, which kind of look like momos but actually are the tasty sweet cousin from Maharashtra, uncles shaping Ganpati from clay and younger ones busy arranging the pandaals.i
For all those who are still rolling their eyes, Ganesh Chaturthi is a very popular festival in South, mostly in Maharashtra, which we know thanks to Bollywood. It’s a 10-12 day long festival, including events as bringing the idol home, installing it and finally the immersion. Modaks are the main treat of the festival. You can get the recipe here.
Getting an idol
While you can get an idol as per you liking from a local pot-maker, some people like to sculpt their own statues out of clay. Which is a good thing, since most of the Ganesh idols available are made of Plaster of Paris as it’s easy to mould and comes cheap. Now, PoP doesn’t easily dissolves in water and is non-biodegradable. So, when a hundred or so statues are immersed in the water, the acidity of the water body decreases. Also, the heavy metal content from the ornaments and the chemical paints on the statue increases, causing water pollution and adversely affecting the marine population.
In fact, The Govenment of Goa has actually banned the sale of PoP Ganesh idols. It may seem like an extreme step, but looking at the larger picture it prevents the natural habitat of hundreds of marine species from destroying. So, make sure you get a clay idol and celebrate a healthy and eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi! Ganpati Bappa Morya!