Saraswati, the goddess of education, music and art culture is adulated in various parts of the country. The festival is generally celebrated on the day of Vasant Panchami. Vasant Panchami means the fifth day of the spring. The specific date of the festival keeps altering every year as per the Hindu calendar. Besides Bengalis, this day is also commemorated by the Sikhs.
This day is commemorated as it commences the spring festival. The colour which is linked with this festival is yellow. This colour is noteworthy as throughout this time, mustard flowers starts budding everywhere. People desire to wear yellow clothes on this day since they adulate the goddess. Even food items which are prepared on this day are usually yellow in colour. The food items which you will often see on this day are yellow sweets and sweet saffron rice.
The day is commemorated with puja and in some places cultural programs are also precise. This day is regarded as the birth day of goddess Saraswati. She is also believed to be as the wife of Brahma. In Punjab, the Sikh community celebrates this day with much devotion. On this day, musicians in gurudwaras carry out basant raga. In some areas of Punjab, fairs are also arranged on this day. It is the day when Guru Govind Singh got hitched; thus it makes the day more special.
The Relation to Lord Kamadeva
If we look at customs, this festival was initially more dedicated to Kamadeva. Lord Shiva had made Kamadeva turn to ashes. The spouse of Kamadeva did a very tough forfeit for forty days. At the end of these 40 days lord Shiva felt mercy and he gave Kamadeva his being back. This day was Vasant Panchami and hence this day started to gain significance. Dancing girls and dhol players would come to the majestic palace and play the dhol. The songs sung on this specific day are dedicated to Lord Krishna and the Gopis. Soon after the festivities, some gulal is also applied. This day is regarded as the good day for marriage in several parts of the country.
Importance of Saraswati Pooja
It is believed that if you gratify the Goddess Saraswati, she can award you with a lot of talent and knowledge. Some also state that she emerged from the mouth of Lord Brahma. She was very attractive and Brahma considered her as his most beautiful creation. She is linked with the moon and lotus both of which are symbols of endless womanhood.
Some hypothesis also states that she came out from Samudra manthan. Since she was very attractive and highly knowledgeable; she was sent to paradise and stayed there as deity. Some also say that deity Saraswati was Vishnu’s spouse. Since she was too intelligent, Vishnu determined to give her off to Brahma and ever since she became the spouse of Brahma.
Special in Bengal
The Saraswati Puja is a big celebration in Bengal. Most of the schools have local holiday on this day. The Puja is commemorated in almost all the educational institutes and houses. In Bengal there is a ritual which is called hatey khori. The ritual is followed even nowadays.
Small children who are yet to learn writing become a part of this practice. On Saraswati Puja, various small kids sit in front of the goddess Saraswati in a line. Every kid has an elder along with them. They are made to write 1 or 2 alphabets of Bengali or English on a slate. The mentors hold the tiny hands of kid and let them write these letters. It is regarded as a favourable day to start writing. It is said that if a kid writes his or her first alphabets in the existence of goddess Saraswati they will always be sanctified by the goddess and perform well in their education.