GANESHA Chaturthi is a festival celebrated to honor Lord Ganesha’s birthday. Hindu deities are symbolic of general virtues, art defined as a virtue in this perspective is the natural beauty around us and wisdom as a virtue will be defined as how we become proactive while deciding what we think is right and wrong and most importantly why we think so.In the Hindu faith, Lord Ganesha is symbolic of art and wisdom. South African Indians are descendants from the north and south of India, traditions differ but during a festival such as Ganesha Chaturthi, South African Hindus come together to observe the festival and pay heed to the “Lord of new beginnings”. In the Hindu culture, stories are often told to teach lessons or to answer “why?” questions. “Lord Ganesha is popularly known as the remover of obstacles and we pray to him at the beginning of every prayer. Lord Ganesha faced many challenging situations and overcame them with the wisdom that he possessed, like how we seek guidance from our parents, so did he,” said Cohendhran Pillay, PRO of the Umbango temple. The widely celebrated festival will be held today (September 13). Festival observers usually prepare a special Indian delicacy called Ladoo or Modaks for the celebration. “The sweetmeats are offered as a token of gratitude to Lord Ganesha.”“The story of Lord Ganesha’s birth is legendary, as he is known as the elephant-headed God. We believe that before Lord Ganesha was created, Mother Parvathi yearned for a son and prayed that he would possess characteristics that she admired of many deities. Lord Ganesha fulfilled the duties of a son with his loyalty and devotion to his parents, this is what makes worshipping him more special,” said Prenesan Perumal, executive member of the Maha Vishnu temple. If you would like to find out more about Ganesha Chaturthi, contact Cohendhran Pillay on 076 406 2386 or Prenesan Perumal on 078 413 9827. The Umbango Sri Siva Soobramanior Alayam and the Maha Vishnu temple will both be hosting the Ganesha Chaturthi prayer this Thursday at 6 pm, the prayer includes a hawan, a service and supper thereafter. The Umbango Sri Siva Soobramanior Alayam also extend an invitation for their Purtassi prayer, which will be held at the temple on September 22.