09/19/2012 07:50 am ET Updated Sep 19, 2012

Ganesh Chaturthi 2012: Celebrating Lord Ganesha's Birthday (PHOTOS)

Click through to see photos from this year's Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

Ganesh Chaturthi 2012

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Ganesh. It is a 10-day festival marking the birthday of Ganesh, who is widely worshiped for auspicious beginnings. Ganesh is the patron of arts and sciences, the deity of intellect and wisdom and identified by his elephant head.

In 2012, Ganesh Chaturthi, which is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada starts on Sept. 19 and lasts until Sept. 29.

Ganesh Chaturthi
is celebrated all over India and among the Hindu Indian diaspora, and it is observed in an especially grand manner in Maharashtra.

Prior to the festival, skilled artisans prepare clay models of Lord Ganesh. Houses are cleaned as devotees prepare to bring the Lord Ganesh into their homes and install the deity. Special prayers, devotional chanting and singing are performed on all 10 days. Delicious sweets are prepared and distributed on this joyous occasion. On the 11th day, the Ganesh statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea.