Today:- Kolkata, Jan – Goddess Saraswati, regarded as the Hindu deity of music, culture and learning, was worshiped across West Bengal with traditional pomp and gaiety on Monday.
Women and girls decked up in traditional bright-yellow saris signifying Basant Panchami — heralding the arrival of spring — and men and boys in kurtas offered flowers to the deity, as families shared “prasad” in cities, towns and villages.
It was a day of mirth for children, for whom Saraswati puja is a “no study” day. Too happy to give their textbooks a miss, they participated in cultural functions organised in localities, educational institutes and households.
Clay idols of the goddess were seen with a crescent moon on the brow, riding a swan or seated on a lotus with flowers, fruits and sweets placed as offerings before it.
The rituals started early morning and continued till midday in schools, colleges, community clubs and households, with priests chanting mantras and devotees placing seasonal palash flowers at the deity’s feet to the ringing sounds of cymbals and conch shells.
To receive the goddess’s blessings, students also placed their books, pens and musical instruments beside the idol for the entire day.
Small marquees came up in almost all localities where neighbours gathered to pay obeisance to the goddess, followed by sumptuous lunch comprising “khichuri” — a mixture of rice and lentils, with potato and cauliflower added for taste — accompanied by eggplant fries, mixed vegetables and dollops of chutney and sweets. Such feasts were held in educational institutions also.