Being a Bengali means celebrating baro maashe tero parbon. Right after Poush Sankranti comes Saraswati Puja – the one pujo which is especially dear to students from across the state. One of the major reasons behind it is that this is one day when no mom will say ‘porte bosho’ as the books are all at the goddess’ feet, ready to be worshipped.
Saraswati Puja or Vasant Panchami as it is known elsewhere in the country, is about the worship of the goddess of knowledge – Saraswati, who comes with her veena. Organising Saraswati Pujo in the neighbourhood or complex and even schools and colleges is growing up ritual for every Bengali kid. From deciding the budget to getting sponsors and then getting the idol and doing the décor, it’s a fun festival in which grown-ups allow the youngsters to take charge. Watch the Bengali movie Jayo Jayo Debi where a group of friends get together to organise Saraswati Puja in their complex and eventually fall in love. Watch this cute movie below.
Saraswati Pujo is incomplete without dressing up in basanti or yellow and visiting schools and colleges. A lot of people also call it Bengal’s very own Valentine’s Day. Another important part of the festival is haatekhori where kids are introduced to alphabets for the first time. Many parents consider this day as the start of their kid’s education. They perform a small ceremony where the priest encourages their kid to write the first word. This marks the start of their education. They believe that starting formally on this day will shower the blessings of the goddess on their kids. This day is also considered pious for learning art forms like music, dance or drawing. The puja is the special event — every home and neighbourhood is filled with prayers and songs praising the god. All books and study materials are worshipped. People fast till the puja is done. This is also the first day when people usually taste the kul, which is supposedly a forbidden fruit to have before Saraswati Puja. And of course, no festival is complete without the bhog. Delicious khichuri and other vegetarian accompaniments are a part and parcel of the festival.
Done pandal hopping? Watch the romance brew between Radhika and Karna in Ki Kore Bolbo Tomay on ZEE5.