He is worshipped by many names like Vinayaka, Ganesha, Pillayar(which is how we call him here in TN), Vigneshwara, Gajanana, Ganapathy, Mooshika Vahanaa,n some more.. he rides on an animal called Moonjoor(a large rat kinda rodent).
In our houses we celebrate this pooja in a grand manner. the puja room is done up with plenty of rice flour kolams(rangoli minus color). My uncle buys a new Vinayaka idol(made of clay) for all our houses(my parents,grandparents and his own). along with a decorated umbrella to place behind the idol. It is then decorated with flowers, a Erukampoo malai((calotropis garland) and bunch of arugampul( a type of grass specific to pillaiyar/vinayaka)
Puja is performed by our family priest.. different kinds of mothagam(kozhukkattai -sweet made using rice flour for outer cover and coconut +sugar filling, urad daal salty filling, sesame powder filled); vadai; payasam(kheer made using milk and rice), appam( a sweet made using wheat flour,water and jaggery) and idli(yes,we give this as a blessing as well today) are all placed before the lord and his blessings obtained...
Once the puja is over, my gramma went about her daily pujas and then it was lunch time. since there was so much to be done for the puja, lunch is kept simple.. mom,dad,sis, uncle aunt and cousin had all come over and spent the day here.. was fun...always is..
There is a temple at the end of our road where they do elaborate puja and in the evening Vinayaka comes on a round on his royal chariot visiting homes... i am always amazed at the beauty of the decorations and ornaments he wears... looks so grand~~
It is said that the day after the Chathurthi, the idol must be moved from the place where it was kept and then subsequently immersed in the ocean....
We normally go on a drive during the evening, a tour of the areas where different kinds of Ganesha's are on display.. there is usually one BIG Ganesha and multiple smaller ones... this year will be a first, of us not stepping out.. all are too tired... :)
Anyways, today has been a good day and lord Ganesha showed me that he does care abt me by giving the day a wonderful start... making me smile... just hope he keeps this going.. else he will have to listen to all i have to rant... :D [ he is my friend,confidante,sounding board and some more.... ]