Saraswati Puja is also known as Basant Panchami. It is a festival that marks the arrival of spring, celebrated by people in various ways depending on the region. The Vasant Panchami also marks the start of preparation for Holika and Holi, which occurs forty days later. Though largely known as a religious festival, there is much more to the day than just puja. Here are some facts about Saraswati Puja.
1. Mother Of All Vedas
Maa Saraswati is called the mother of all Vedas. Just like a Wikipedia is a repository of knowledge, Maa Saraswati is the repository of Brahma’s all knowledge and intelligence. According to the Rigveda, Saraswati was a river but started losing her significance as a river in the post-Vedic age. She started being associated with literature, arts, music, etc. In Hinduism, Saraswati is the symbol of intelligence, consciousness, creativity and education.
2. Indian Valentine’s Day
If the world celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14th, many youths celebrate it traditionally on Saraswati Puja. The day is marked by couples having their day out and parks are filled with such lovebirds! There are no restrictions on roaming around on this day, and the youthful minds use this opportunity ideally.
3. Skies Get Dotted!
In various parts of the country, the day is marked by traditional kite flying. The roofs are crowded with youthful boys and they enjoy competing in kite flying contests among themselves. Once a kite is cut, others are seen running to capture it.
Basant Panchami is hugely popular as Saraswati Puja. On this day, first-time learners are initiated to education. The ritual is known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham. The Goddess is worshipped at all educational institutions. Students and those associated with education, art or culture pray to Saraswati for eternal knowledge and enlightenment.
5. Yellow Dressing Day
On this day, the clothing color switches to yellow. People generally wear yellow on this day as the color is associated with spring and Saraswati. Some would wear yellow dresses at no other time, but this day. Yellow sweets are also distributed as Prasad (religious offering to the Goddess).
6. Maa Saraswati
In the eastern part of India, Maa Saraswati is considered the daughter of Lord Shiva and Maa Durga. Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha and Karthikeya are considered as her siblings. In Buddhist iconography, Maa Saraswati is considered as the consort of Manjushri.
7. Basant Panchami
The seasonal spring festival of Basant Panchami, which is observed on the fifth day of Hindu month “Magh”, is also called Shree Panchami when celebrating Saraswati Puja. Basant Panchami is observed in different ways across India. It is celebrated at Sufi shrines as Sufi Basant, while Punjab hosts the Basant Festival of Kites as a part of the Sikh festival on this day. Basant Panchami is the beginning of the spring festive cycle that ends with the celebration of Holi (Basant Utsav).
8. The Lotus
The Lotus on which Maa Saraswati sits is considered as the symbol of supreme knowledge.
9. The Veena
The Veena that Maa Saraswati holds, does not only symbolize harmony but also symbolizes intelligence and intellect.
10. Students Become Architects
Saraswati Puja is held in most households and the responsibility of decorating the puja area or pandals falls on the students. So, they have to get creative. There is a sort of competition, for all the friends will visit each other’s house in the evening of the puja and comparisons will be drawn.
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