West Bengal gears up for Saraswati puja

The ripening of mustard and the onset of spring brings with it the festival of Basant Panchami which is also observed as Saraswati Puja in most parts of the country. This year it will be celebrated on February 10.

West Bengal is abuzz this weekend as the celebration of the Mother Goddess Saraswati is celebrated with love and adoration of the Hindu goddess.

Every mother would think of celebrating Saraswathi puja at home so kids can invoke the blessings of the goddess.

This puja is celebrated in the month of Phalgun month (January to February).

In Southern India, the puja is celebrated during Navratri, which is also called the Mahanavami day, also observed as Ayudha puja and Saraswati puja.

What goes into the celebration of the puja?

The essential puja samagri used during this puja are

  • Image or idol of Goddess Saraswati
  • A white cloth (vastram)
  • Flowers – louts, lilies or jasmine.
  • Mango leaves or other decorations
  • Turmeric
  • Kumkum
  • Rice
  • Bananas
  • Locally available Fruits

The pooja ritual begins with the chanting of the Saraswati Vandana mantra. According to Vedic culture this is the shloka on Mother Goddess Saraswati that must be chanted.

Sarasvati namastubhyam
Varade KAmarUpiNi
VidyArambham Karishyami
Siddhir Bhavatu Me SadA

Find the Saraswati Vandana Mantra here

The English translation of this is:

“O Goddess Saraswathi; salutations to you, the giver of boons, the one who fulfills desires. I shall begin my studies. May there always be accomplishment for me.”

  • Since this puja is celebrated on the onset of Vasanth panchami, all the deities inside the room including the main idol of goddess Saraswati is draped in yellow dyed sari made from the natural dye of flowers.
  • Beautiful floral and rangoli designs are made on the place where the idol will be seated and decorated with beautiful flowers. Designs of fish are considered to be auspicious.
  • The idol is then placed facing the east, on a flat stool covered with a yellow cloth.
  • A green coconut is placed on an earthen pot and covered with a red checked cloth called “gamocha”.
  • The worship of Maa Saraswati is incomplete without Palash flowers, plums, phaag and abhro (herbal powdered colors), bel leaves and white sandalwood paste.
  • On the day of Saraswati puja all items related to studies, books, computer and music instruments are kept near the idol of goddess saraswati to seek her blessings. Moreover, these books are used for studies after the next day of the puja. During this auspicious occasion children are asked to touch pen and write alphabets or letters as it sets the beginning of a new learning phase in their life. In Bengali, this ritual is known as “Hatey-Khori.” Sometimes the ritual is also held the very next day of the puja, as it is considered to be one of the most auspicious day.
  • Plum and tapioca fruits are offered to the goddess and among the sweets puffed rice, jaggery and yogurt are also offered to the Ma Saraswati.
  • A havan is conducted by the priest using special wood, ghee, incense sticks, and a diya or lamp is lit beside the prasad.
  • On this auspicious day, no animal sacrifice is done as goddess Saraswati is considered pious and full of serenity. Thus, vegetarian food is prepared on this day.
  • Most popular Bengali dish made on this day is “Kooler Chatni” – (Plum- Jam) is especially made and served on this day.
  • After the completion of this puja, fruits, and other traditional sweets are given to everyone in the neighborhood. Then, the idol is immersed in the nearby sea or is permanently installed in their home and celebrated with great pomp and show next year.
  • Moreover, the stationary items, book, and other academic materials are kept in the respective places after the very next day of the puja.

About Naufal Khan

Naufal Khan was the Publisher at ADISHAKTI MEDIA and the editor-in-chief of the South African Indian news service Indian Spice. Khan was former Sunday Times journalist and also an occult fiction and non-fiction writer with several published titles.