Saraswati Puja: Celebrating the Goddess of the Arts and Wisdom

sarawati puja in vancouver bc canada

The spring season begins on Vasant Panchami. Vasant denotes spring, while Panchami means “the fifth day.” It is also known as Shri Panchami, and Saraswati Panchami. It falls on the fifth day of the month of Magh (January/February in the Gregorian calendar). Throughout the festival, Maa Saraswati also known as Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom, learning, the arts and daughter of Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva is honored. Bengal, Odisha, and north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh are the places where Saraswati Puja is most popular on Vasant Panchami.

Goddess Saraswati is believed to bestow upon individuals the abilities of speech, study, and wisdom. She has four hands, which stand for intelligence, awareness, thinking and ego—the four facets of human nature that are related to learning. She holds the lotus, a representation of true wisdom in one hand and religious scriptures in another. The Goddess uses her other two hands to play the veena, a string instrument, to create music that symbolizes life and love. Her imagery usually consists of white themes, such as dresses, flowers, and swans, which stand for Sattwa Guna (attribute of purity and knowledge) and distinctions for insight and wisdom.

According to the Hindu division of the day, Goddess Saraswati is honored on this day during Purvahna, which is the period preceding noon. Devotees adorn the deity with whitegarments and flowers. Traditionally milk and white sesame sweets are offered. As there are so many blooming mustard and marigold flowers during this time of year, people in northern India present Goddess Saraswati with yellow flowers on the auspicious day of Vasant Panchami.

Saraswati Puja is celebrated in schools, universities, and educational institutions. The well-known Shah Bihari temple in Vrindavan offers the Vasanti chamber to pilgrims on this day. Saraswati Puja is observed with great fervor and dedication. It is customary for the boys to wear a Kurta and Dhoti, while the girls wear yellow Basanti Saris. Artists, students, and academicians worship Goddess Saraswati and keep educational books, musical instruments, paintbrushes, canvases, ink pots, and bamboo quills at the feet of the Goddess to get her blessings to excel in their fields. This day is dedicated to Haate Khori, also known as Vidya Arambha in other states, which is the ceremonial beginning of learning the alphabets.

Pushpanjali (offering of flowers with prayers) is usually observed in the morning. Sandal paste, marigold, Palash (Flame-of-the-Forest) and chrysanthemums and Bel (Wood Apple) leaves are used to worship the goddess. Apples, dates, bananas, jujube fruits are offered to the Goddess. Along with Khichuri and Labra, Topa Kul Chutney is a particular delicacy that is enjoyed on the day of Puja. People chant the Saraswati Vandanaa, a hymn composed in Saraswati’s honor and to greet the new season. Many students participate in this puja to receive blessings of wisdom and knowledge that will help them in their academic endeavors. Saraswati devotees also ask for blessings for spirituality, purity, and tranquility, as well as for success in all facets of life.

Saraswati Puja Events in Vancouver Area:

Lower Mainland Bengali Cultural Society (LMBCS) is organizing an event for Saraswati Puja on 17th of February 2024. We encourage everyone to attend the Puja ceremony to be blessed by the Goddess with spirituality, knowledge, and wisdom.

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Nisha Chatterjee

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