Before marriage My mum doesn't do elaborate celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. Just normal pooja with one sundal at the most. For me after marriage and moved out India in the early years of marriage I didn't even know when is Ganesh Chaturthi. Now as kids grew up wanted them to keep in touch with Indian traditions I do almost all the hindu festivals. Being in Singapore makes it easier.

History of Ganesh Chaturthi:

Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most important Hindu festival in India. It is the day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati was born. The day thus marks the auspicious birth of one of the most important Hindu God. This day is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in many parts of the country. It is celebrated on of fourth day of the waxing moon period in the month of Bhaadrapada according to the Hindu calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar, this day falls between 20 August and 15 September. The festival is celebrated with immense enthusiasm in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh for ten days. 

Though the festival is being celebrated since times immemorial, the present kind of celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi came in fashion in 1893, Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian freedom fighter and social reformer reshaped the annual Ganesh festival from a private family celebration into a community event. The day was conceived to be the National Festival in order to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins in the society. Tilak chose this festival for this purpose because Lord Ganesh was considered to be the ' God of Everyman'. It then served as a meeting ground for people of all community and religion on a public platform. Since then the festival has served its cause of existence. Even now people irrespective of caste and community barriers celebrate this festival with great joy.

Coming to the story of Lord Ganesh’s birth secret it is said that he is the son of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. It is elieved that once while Parvati was bathing, she created a human figure from some unguent and balm, gave him life and asked him to guard the door while she bathed. After a long period of meditation on Mountain Kailash (Lord Shiva’s abode), Shiva chose that very moment to drop by to see his better half, but was abruptly stopped by the man-god Parvati had posted at the door. Outraged by the cheek of this stranger, Shiva cut off his head only to discover moments later that he had killed Parvati’s son! For fear of enraging his wife, Shiva immediately dispatched his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. Well, the first living creature happened to be an elephant. As instructed, the head was chopped off and brought back to Shiva, who placed it on Parvati’s son’s body, bringing him back to life. This elephant-headed god was welcomed into the first family of the Hindu heavens and named Ganesha or Ganapati, which literally means the chief of the ganas, or the attendants of Shiva. Ganesha is the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon. This brave guardian of the door to Parvati’s bath is beheld today as the most auspicious God of new beginnings, undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc

There are other interesting stories associated with Ganesh Chaturthi and its significance. One of the most popular legend found in Skanda Purana says, once Ganesha was invited for a feast in Chandralok. The joyous Ganesh feasts himself to his heart's content. But he grows very restless and feels that his stomach would burst out. In order to prevent the stomach from bursting out, he ties a snake around it. But he was not able to balance himself after the huge meal and stumbles and falls. The moon watches the scene from the sky and laughs at Ganesh. Angered, Lord Ganesh curses the moon to vanish from the universe. However because of the moon's absence, the whole world began to wane. So the gods asked Shiva to persuade Ganesha to relent. The moon also apologized for his misbehavior. On Shiva's intervention, Ganesha modified his curse. He announced that the moon would be invisible on only one day of a month, and would be partially seen for the Ganesha Utsav most part.

On the occasion of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival a large number of images are made of all possible sizes, and people buy them to keep in their houses as a divine guest for one and a half, five, seven, or ten days. On the day of the Chaturthi, shrines are erected, firecrackers let off, huge images of Ganeshji are carried in grand procession for 'Ganesh Visarjan' accompanied by the sound of devotional songs and drums.  The idol should not be kept after this day, as it is considered inauspicious

Pooja Procedure:
Before starting the Pooja take a cleansing bath and wear clean clothes. Clean the place of worship, Ganesh idol or picture and all other pooja articles. Place a betel leaf or a clean plate before the god. Make a Ganesh vigraha with turmeric and water to from a thick dough and shape it with your hands. Place kumkum on it and decorate it with flowers. Decorate the idol also with flowers and grass (Arugam pul if available). Prepare the Prasad for Ganesh. Click here for Ganesh Chaturthi Recipes. Place the Prasad before the Lord on a banana leaf or clean plate. Plate fresh fruits and  coconut. Light the lamp and start the pooja. Offer flowers, fruits and Prasad (at least one type of kolukattai (Modak), 1 Sundal and one sweet rice). Normally I do prasad in odd numbers.Chant Ganesh Chaturthi slokas.Lord Ganesha’s mantra is Om Gung Ganapathaye Namah. Spiritual aspirants who worship Ganesha as their tutelary Deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah. Click here for complete Slokas. End the pooja by offering prasad to everyone. Normally I also do turmeric vigragha which later immersed in water after completion of pooja on the final day. The pooja should be started when Chaturthi sets in. It is also believed that moon should not be looked that day as that will bring bad luck for the whole year.

Ganesh Chaturthi Outside India
People living outside India also celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with great devotion. The devotion is much more as they are far away from country and to pass traditions to their kids. People would love to organize a social gathering and would invite everyone to be a part of their worshiping the Lord Ganesha.