Saraswati Puja Rituals
Saraswati Puja is celebrated on the fifth day of Spring (Krishna Paksha) in the month of January-February (Magh-Phalgun). This day has a special significance in the life of students as they pile their books at the feet of the Goddess asking for her blessings. Many rituals are observed during the worship of this deity of learning.
Saraswati Puja Rituals are as follows:
- The Goddess of wisdom, Saraswati is clad in a white or shiuli flower dyed yellow or basanti coloured saree.
- Rangoli or Indian pattern or decoration with ground riceand flowers forms an integral part of the Saraswati Puja. The design of a fish is incorporated in the rangoli as it is considered to be auspicious.
- A low tool constructed out of wood and covered with a yellow cloth is used to place the idol facing towards theeast direction.
- It is the custom to cover the face of the idol until the priest starts to chant the mantras when the puja begins.
- Earthern pot is used to hold green coconut wrapped in a red checked cloth made of cotton, called “gamocha.”
- Palash is a very important flower used for the worship of Goddess Saraswati, apart from marigold and rose.
- It is a common practice by students to pile up books, pens and writing material in front of the deity and seek her blessings on this propitious day.
- Berries popularly known as “kool”and tapioca form an essential part of the festival. Jaggery, yogurt and puffed rice forms an integral part of the sweets of this festival.
- Basanti or yellow is the colour of the festival. Members of a family, where Saraswati Puja is observed take bath early in the morning and get dressed in yellow apparels commencing the worship of the deity. This is an important Saraswati Puja rituals observed during the worship of Goddess Saraswati.
- The string tied to the earthen pot is taken off the following day after the worship by priest before the immersion ceremony or “visarjan”. This is one of the vital Saraswati Puja rituals observed on this day.
- Havan or making offerings to the sacred fire is done by priests during this puja. Joss sticks, wood, ghee, incense, lamp or diya forms a vital part of this festival.
- Aarti is done by priests in the mornings and evenings, that is, twice daily.It is a very popular ritualof breaking coconut in front of the Goddess Saraswati. These coconut pieces are then used to prepare the various delicacies cooked on this auspicious day.
“Hatey khori” or learning how to write alphabets is among the most important Saraswati Puja rituals followed in Bengal. Khoi or puffed rice, bananas and yogurt are offered to the Goddess of learning, as she leaves.