Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. Ganpati is the elephant-headed God.
The following story is narrated about his birth and how he came to have the head of an elephant. Once upon a time, the Goddess Parvati, while bathing, created Ganpati as a pure white being out of the mud of her body and placed him at the entrance of the house. She told him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. God Shiva himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganpati at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganpati's head as he thought Ganpati was an outsider. When Parvati came to know of this, she was sorely grieved. To console her, Shiva ordered his disciples to cut off and bring to him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The disciples went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. Shiva then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganpati.