Celebrating Vasant Panchami

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Saraswati Puja

Celebration of Sarswati Puja or Vasant Panchami

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped for spiritual enlightenment, the greatest wealth to man. The goddess is a favorite of religious and spiritual leaders. She encompasses Learning, Wisdom and the Fine Arts. Hindu folklore puts the Learned on a higher pedestal than even the king.

In some traditional homes sweetmeats of yellowish hues are exchanged with relatives and friends. Kesari halwa and Kesari sweet rice are the favorites in North India. A dash of saffron is added to the sweetmeats to get a yellow tinge. Many people visit temple to offer halwa or sweet rice to the Gods. Some people feed Brahmanas on this day. Pitri-Tarpan (ancestor worship) is performed on this day and some worship Kamdev, the god of love and The Goddess of Learning. It is customary to begin a child's education on this day. Schools, colleges and other places of learning organize special worship of Saraswati. Many schools and colleges also organize cultural activities. The most significant aspect of this day is that Hindu children are taught reading and writing their first word - as it is considered an auspicious day to begin a child's education. Goddess Saraswati being pure and white and representing learning, no animal sacrifice is made to her. Everyone will have vegetarian meal on this day.
Floral offerings are made in a big scale. Books, articles, instruments of music and arts, earthen inkpots and bamboo quills are placed before her. The ink is made from unboiled milk water, red colour powder and silver glitter called avro. On this day nobody writes or read any books. This signifies that the goddess bless the learners through the books placed in front of her.
Many communities get together and erect special Saraswati Puja sthans for Vasant Panchami. They hold puja and arrange community lunch. Books, musical instruments, and other objects related to the arts and scholarship were placed in front of the goddess to receive her blessings.
In Punjab the festival is called Basant Panchami. Kite flying is popular on this day in North India. The days leading to the festival represent busy times for Kite makers for the usually clear blue skies tend to be filled with kites of all colors.
The Goddess of Knowledge, Saraswati, is especially worshipped in Orissa, Bengal and Bihar. In Orissa with the onset of spring Capital city Bhubaneswar gear itself for celebration of the Vasant Panchami. The festival is celebrated with great fervor in the Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Berhampur, and other major cities of the state.
Similarly in West Bengal Saraswati Puja is celebrated on a large scale. Throughout the state, Saraswati Puja is performed in schools, colleges as well as in homes. In all educational institutions, especially in music, arts and crafts institutions, Saraswati Puja is observed with devotion and reverence.



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