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Thanekars prepare for 10-day Maghi Ganesh festivities

The end of January has brought with it a time for celebrations for Thanekars in Mumbai, who are set to enjoy 10 days of Maghi Ganesh beginning Tuesday. Maghi Ganesh is considered to be the birthday of Lord Ganesha as per the Hindu calendar and involves festive celebrations for 10 to 15 days. To celebrate Ganesh’s birthday, or Ganesh Jayanti as it is called, various Ganesh mandals in Thane have lined up a series of religious and cultural programmes.

January 31 is the day that Maghi Ganesh is celebrated in Thane and various other parts of Maharashtra. The celebrations have a religious undertone minus any flamboyance, which one often sees during Ganeshotsav. For instance, the Swaraj Samajik Seva Sanstha in Kopri, Thane (E), has organised an understated two-day Maghi Ganesh event at their pandal.

“We have been hosting Maghi Ganesh for the past 10 years and our celebrations are low-key as usual, with a focus on bhajans, kirtans and cultural programmes,” says Manohar Chavan from the sanstha, which hosts only Maghi Ganesh every year and not the more popular Ganeshotsav.

“Our aim is to spread awareness about Maghi Ganesh and we refrain from celebrating Ganeshotsav during or after the monsoon,” says Rahul Sinkar, the sanstha’s vice-president.

What is unique about their celebration is that right from the sthapna (establishment) of the Ganesh idol in the pandal to puja (worship) and visarjan (immersion), everything is done by women. For the next two days, there will be a programme involving bhajans and kirtans performed by women, with even the sahasrar (1,000) avartan being done by women. “Groups of women will carry out abhishek of Lord Ganesha by reciting his 1,000 names,” Sinkar says.

Even the Sarvajanik Maghi Ganeshotsav Mandal at Lokmanyanagar, Thane (W), has set aside a 10-day period for celebrations and festivities till February 10. “At our pandal, we have erected a float that spreads the message of Swachh Bharat,” says Sudhir Barge from the mandal.

“Starting from today, there will be various programmes, such as bhajans and pravachans, every evening till the day of the visarjan,” he says.