Ganesh or Vinayaka Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh (son of Shiva), the elephant -headed god of all good beginnings and success. The festival celebrated as the birth day of Lord Ganesha, is a ten day long event held annually in South India especially with great fervour in Maharashtra. It falls on the fourth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadhrapada (August -September).
August 27th was my son Mike's birthday. He would have been 40. I wanted to do something to remember him, and Gopal suggested having a feast for our whole colony in Mike's memory. So, that's what we did. Jayanthi, Mariama and Shashi all pitched in and actually did all the work. They cooked vegetable biriyani and raita (they call raita thiyeer chutney, yogurt chutney). We added laddu (an Indian sweet), fruit, beetlenut, and candy. Gopal did puja with the food as prasad. At 8pm, Gopal and I (accompanied by Shriya of course) took enough dinner for each household, one by one. It was really nice.
In the morning, Gopal cleaned the living room, including doing this Sambirani ritual, purifying our home with herbal smoke.
While Gopal was doing the Sambirani, Mariama (the kolam artist) was creating a beautiful birthday kolam
Jayanthi started to help with the kolam
Here's the finished kolam. It was much more beautiful than you can see here. (Before dinner, Shaggy chased a kitten right through the kolam and pretty much ruined it!)
Mariama, Mrs. Chandran the milk lady, Carolyn, Jayanthi preparing the food for cooking