Jamshedpur, Feb 16: Under strict Covid-19 guidelines in place, the city celebrated Saraswati Puja on the occasion of Basant Panchami on Tuesday. Basant Panchami is considered as one of the most auspicious days in the year for initiation of children into learning. Saraswati Puja is observed on the fifth day after the no moon night in the Hindu month of Magh.
Tuesday morning commenced on a festive note as the city celebrated the first religious festival of the year – Saraswati Puja. With schools closed during coronavirus, only a few colleges and institutes celebrated the puja.
Following the rituals, people place books near the Goddess’ statue or picture and worship her. Book-reading is not allowed on this day. Boys clad in traditional dresses and girls wearing yellow sarees, in most cases for the first time, make the festival all the more special.
Jamshedpur Co-operative College celebrated Saraswati Puja at the campus. Teachers and staff members with the students offered prayer to Goddess Saraswati.
The lighting of lamps, offering flowers, chanting of Mantras and beautiful floral designs created before Mother Saraswati made the school’s environment pious. Students were in colourful dresses and enjoyed the Puja.
The Puja ended with the Prasad distribution. “Mainly on this day, students offer prayers to the goddess of knowledge and education Saraswati in schools and the colleges. In the Jamshedpur Women’s College from where I have passed out, I had come specially to be the part of the celebrations here,” said Rakhi Roy, a former student.
Monika, a local student, said she had come for the Saraswati Puja hoping for better results. “We have come here for the Saraswati Pooja as Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and education so that we get good results,” said Monica.
Tradition has it that adults should not help children into learning, until the initiation ceremony is performed before Goddess Saraswati. A large number of children are initiated into learning at temples or at home in front of the idol of Goddess Saraswati.
Wearing bright yellow clothes signifying the onset of spring, devotees – mainly students and teenagers- lined up to seek the blessings of the goddess. Unmarried girls and boys clad in saree and kurta thronged various puja pandals across the city.
Although the puja is offered in the early morning, the celebrations continue through the day as students keep their books in front of the goddess for her blessings. The day is unofficially considered as ‘no study’ day in Bengal with students not even touching their books.
“It’s a day we look forward to every year. The khichuri and labra cooked as bhog (offering) in our school for the goddess always tastes very delicious. We also have chutney and beguni (eggplant dipped in Bengal gram flour and deep fried). There is nothing like eating together with all our classmates,” said Soma Das, celebrating the occasion at her institution in Sakchi.