Monday, February 18, 2013

Saraswati Puja


In the eastern parts of India - Odisha and West Bengal, Saraswati Puja is celebrated on Vasanth Panchami (which literally means the fifth day of Spring). Hindus, especially the student community, worship Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, with great devotion and reverence. The goddess is also a patron of music, art and science.

Saraswati Puja 2013

I had the good fortune to visit a puja organized last week by the Bengalis in Bangalore (BIB) association. And it did trigger a trip down memory lane. Saraswati Puja is not celebrated in a big way in Bangalore (or I can probably extend it to the whole of South India). But back home, in Odisha, educational institutions across the State will have a festive ambience on this day.

Seeking blessings of the goddess of knowledge, students from primary schools to universities organize the puja with fervor and gaiety. The rituals start early in the morning and last till midday in schools, colleges, coaching centers, community places and households. The environment is abuzz with chanting of mantras by priests and the ringing sounds of conch shells. Students line up to perform pushpanjali, offering flowers to the goddess along with the chanting of mantras. Devotees place books, pens and musical instruments at the feet of the goddess. The worship of books also meant this day has traditionally been a no-study day.

Saraswati Puja 2013

Also, this day is considered auspicious for Vidya Aaramabh or Khadi Chuan, as it is commonly called. Young kids mark the beginning of their academic journey on this day by learning the first letters of the alphabets with the blessings of the goddess.

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for this enlightening post. I can't remember anyone in our parts of India celebrating Saraswati Puja, but then our parts of India were the western and the southern parts. Though I do remember mention of Saraswati on occasion.
    Again thank you for this lovely post!

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    1. I have always believed it to be more predominant around the eastern parts of the country, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, etc. I am told in South India, the worship of Goddess Saraswati is performed during the Dassera.

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  2. Such a beautiful idol. Glad to know it is celebrated at your place too.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I was also not aware that Sarawati Puja is celebrated in Bangalore. If it hadn't been for my room-mate coming across an event page of Facebook, I may not have visited the place.

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  3. The Gardener:
    Saraswati Puja takes me back to my school-days, first in my small village and then in the High School nearby, both not far from Cuttack. In our High School the students of the final class (then Class XI) are not required to contribute to the expenses and are invited to participate in the Puja and to join the feast that follows. I passed out from this school in 1964.

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    1. The puja celebrations in school days was certainly a story of its own. From the organization of the event to the actual puja day when everyone will come dressed in their best. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Beautiful photos, I love celebrations

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  5. This post reminds me memories of school days..I remember once I attempted to fast(stict one) during Saraswati Puja and I fainted...:-):-):-)

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  6. Me being a bengali celebrates Saraswati Puja in my family year in a big way.....in delhi lot of bengali medium schools also celebrate in a grand way!!


    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. Good to know the festival is celebrated in Delhi as well. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. Beautiful photos and nice post Ramakant. I really liked the photo of Dada that you clicked(he posted it in fb).

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    1. Thank you Lalitha :)

      Dada would have made life difficult if I hadn't taken a decent photo. I was already taking a beating for the last picture I took :D

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  8. She is very beautiful and I love thinking about her blessing little children as they start on their journey of learning. (I wish I had known about her when my children were small ;>)!)

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    1. It's amazing in a way, and kids do love the event. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. I believe Indianism is a different perception. A colorful one, dotted with love, trust and moulded in faith. Each aspect reflects different pursuits of it all together.

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    1. That's a lovely perspective. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. There was a link to this post at the bottom - since Saraswati is one of my constant interests - I clicked to visit here . . Thank you for adding more to my collection of wonder -

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    1. I am glad you found something more of your interest here.

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