GANESH CHATURTHI or CHOVOTH

The most important and almost the national festival for Goan's is the Ganesh Chaturthi known as 'Chovoth'.

The festivities run into several days, but minimum at least for two and half days, when puja of Gouri and Mahadev along with Ganapati, is performed. Goddess Gouri is drawn on paper and Lord Shiva symbolised by a coconut.alt

On these days married women fast. On the Chovoth day, in the morning or evening, a clay idol of Ganapati is brought home. Before that a matov (a small pandal above the place where the idol is place) is prepared with bunches of betel nut, coconut, bananas and branches of mango-trees being necessary ingredients of it. The puja of Ganapati goes on until mid-day. The puja is performed with the help of the priest.

On the second day, in the evening or at night, after performing the uttar puja of the image of Ganapati, it is taken in procession and immersed into a water body be it the sea, creek, river, lake or well. Before the idol is removed from its stand for immersion, it is besought for the welfare of the household and its members.

Three days of Chovoth means, days of great rejoicing for children. Girls collect different types and shapes of leaves for Gauri, Mahadev and Ganapati. There is competition in flower-making also. At least five vegetables are cooked on that day. Aartis is a special performance on the occasion of the Ganapati festival.

On Panchami (fifth) day, in the evening, crowds of people move around the village to have a look at Ganapati. Women of the masses, dance and sing the Fugdi before Ganapati. Some houses keep Ganapati for five, seven or nine days and rarely up to Anant Chaturdashi.