Last Sat (Sep 15) marked the beginning of a ten day Hindu festival known as Ganesha Chathurti. This very important occasion celebrates the birth of the elephant-headed God named Ganesha (also known as Vinayagar, Ganapathi or Pillayar) who among the multitudes of Gods in the Hindu pantheon is the most worshipped of them all.
His icon is found in all Hindu temples and is venerated by all Hindus. He is worshipped at the beginning of all activities, journeys, start-of-business etc as Lord Ganesha is the removal of obstacles. As such prayers are always offered to Lord Ganesha first even in a temple as He will remove any obstacles facing your path towards enlightenment.
Legend has it that he was created by Lord Shiva's wife, Parvathi, to stand guard at the door as She bathed with the explicit instruction to not let anybody past. When Lord Shiva returned & found his way blocked, he chopped off the head of this 'guard' in a rage. When Lord Shiva found out that the 'guard' was a creation of Parvathi's, He brought the guard back to life by replacing his head with the first creature He saw which happened to be an elephant.
PS: To all me Hindu friends & relatives, Happy Ganesha Chathurti. To everyone else, may God bless you . . . whatever name you refer Him by.
PSS: Reason fer this posting is not fer any sort of religious brainwashing but rather me small contribution towards helping others understand our different cultures/religions better. Hindu festivals are not just confined to Deepavali & Thaipusam . . .