Columbus Ganesh Mandal
Ganesh Festival is one of the biggest public celebrations in India finding its roots in the Indian freedom struggle. During the early years of Indian freedom struggle against the British, the Indian society was highly compartmentalized based on class, language, caste, creed, religion etc. It was extremely difficult to bring such a fragmented society together to fight for freedom. At that time, Ganesh Festival was a very popular private celebration in many homes. In 1893, celebrated freedom fighter Tilak made this already popular private celebration a public platform. His purpose was to bring people from all different compartments of the society together. While answering to the heavy criticism from conservatives as well as liberals, he made it clear that this public celebration is to bring people from all castes, classes, and religions together. He was very successful in achieving his goals.
Ganesh Festival has evolved since then while still serving the original purpose of uniting people. Today in India, the tradition of doing social, cultural, and charitable work continues to flourish under the auspices of Ganesh Festival. Especially in states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, every village, township, neighborhood has at least one club (Hindi word - “Mandal”) that celebrates this festival. Innovative props displaying Indian art, culture, socio-political issues, mythologies, historical events etc are prepared by volunteers. These displays attract crowds of people from all over the world. Generally, the event is held for 10 days – from the 4th day of Bhdrapada month to the 14th day of Bhadrapada month in the Hindu calendar.
Outside India, people of Indian origin use this opportunity of Ganesh Festival to get together and share their culture with others. All the major cities in the US have associations of Indians that celebrate Ganesh Festival. Due to the lack of manpower, materials and space, Ganesh Festivals in US typically do not have a lot of decorative props etc. celebrations mainly consist of big Indian cultural programs on one of the weekends in that period.
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of the lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day when Ganesha was born. Ganesha is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September.
Columbus Ganesh Festival club was established in Columbus to celebrate the public Ganesh festival in Columbus, IN in 2005 and in 2014 it was renamed as Columbus Ganesh Utsav Mandal Inc. and registered as a Non-Profit organization in Indiana State. In 2018, it was again renamed as Columbus Ganesh Mandal as CGM started celebrating more than Ganesh Utsav for Columbus, IN community.