Why is Saraswati Puja Celebrated?•
Posted on February 02 2022
Saraswati Puja is celebrated in late January or early February every year to herald the arrival of the spring season. It also marks the end of the cold winter season. This puja is typically celebrated in the Hindu lunisolar Magha month on the fifth day. As a result, this festival is also popularly known as Vasant Panchami, Sri Panchami or Saraswati Panchami. Goddess Saraswati, the deity of knowledge and wisdom, is worshipped on this day. Hindus are of the belief that this day marks the birth of the goddess when Lord Brahma sprinkled some water from his kamandal in the air.
A special puja is done in honour of the goddess on this day during the Panchami Tithi time period. This is typically the time between sunrise and noon.
How to Celebrate
The celebrations for Saraswati Puja start early in the morning. You must wake up early in the morning and clean your house thoroughly after a bath. Some people apply a paste of turmeric and neem all over their body and face before their bath. Since yellow is the colour dedicated to the goddess, devotees prefer to dress in yellow clothes on this day. The colour yellow represents optimism and prosperity as well as anything related to prosperity. If you do not have a yellow dress, you can opt for a white outfit instead.
Place a clean yellow or white cloth on a raised platform such a small stool and place a Saraswati idol or photograph of the goddess on top of it. Make sure that the cloth is free of wrinkles. Do not forget to place a photo or idol of Lord Ganesha on the right side of Saraswati. Lord Ganesha is represented in Hindu mythology as the eliminator of obstacles in one’s life. Adorn the stool with the idols by spreading some flowers, rice, turmeric and Kumkum around them. You can also place these items in separate small bowls in front of the deities. Some devotees also keep their books and tools of trade in front of the goddess.
Fill a copper pot with mango leaves and water and cover the pot with a betel leaf. You must place a lit lamp and some lit incense sticks in front of the raised platform. Chant a Saraswati mantra of your choice with utmost devotion. The famous Saraswati Ya Kundenu that is a part of the Saraswati stotram is chanted during the puja. You can also recite the Aum Aing Saraswathye Namah Aum beej mantra. Whichever mantra you opt to chant, it is important that you do join your hands, close your eyes and do the recitation with utmost devotion to get the maximum benefit. The puja is finally wound up with an arti.
In temples built in honour of the goddess, the idol is dressed in yellow. Special prayers and rituals are said and performed in the morning for devotees to invoke the blessings of Goddess Saraswati. There are musical or poetic gatherings in the evenings. The puja is also celebrated in educational institutions such as schools and colleges.
Parents introduce the concept of learning to children between the age of four and five years on this day. They get the children to start writing their first words using their fingers. This ritual is called Vidya-Arambha or Khadi-Chuan.
Offerings for the Goddess
Like with any Hindu puja, no Saraswati puja is complete without offerings or prasad to the goddess. Devotees offer her milk sweets or yellow cooked like khichdi and besan laddoo. They also give her fruits as prasad and prefer to offer the ber or jujube fruit if possible as she is said to like this fruit very much. In some states like Bihar, food like sev and boondi are also offered as prasad. After the puja, the prasad is shared among family members, well-wishers and neighbours.
Devotees who perform Saraswati puja are blessed with intelligence, communication and creative skills and memory power. They also develop power, creativity and confidence in their writing and speech. Students gain success in competitions and examinations. Although the puja is performed in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, it is primarily celebrated on a grand scale in north eastern states of the country. The puja is an important celebration in Odisha, Assam, Tripura and West Bengal.