Saraswati Puja or Vasant Panchami
A day when you don’t have to study
On Saraswati puja, you don’t have to study. That’s because your books will be at Goddess Saraswati’s feet for her blessing. This festival is popular in West Bengal and South India.
What is Saraswati Puja?
This day is also known as Vasant Panchami or the Festival of Kites. Children fly kites in Punjab. This year, the festival is on February 4. It marks the start of spring.
Yellow is the colour of the day. It symbolizes spring, as yellow mustard flowers bloom during this time in Punjab. Everyone wears yellow clothes, including Goddess Saraswati. Yellow rice and yellow sweets like kesar halwa are made. Yellow marigold flowers are offered to the goddess. People put yellow coloured turmeric (haldi) as tilak on their forehead.
Why do we celebrate Saraswati Puja?
Saraswati is the goddess of learning, music, art and culture. Saraswati puja is celebrated as her birthday. Saraswati means purity and truthfulness. The deity Saraswati is always white, wearing a yellowish white saree that has been dyed with shiuli flowers (small white flowers with orange stems). She holds a veena showing her love for music. Saraswati holds a lotus flower (pure wisdom) and has a swan sitting beside her.
Pandals (structures made from bamboo and cloth) are erected in neighborhoods, and Saraswati sits here. Garlands made from the marigold flowers (in yellow and orange) decorate the goddess. Children draw alpana (using rice powder) in various designs on the floor where Saraswati sits. They make multi colored streamers which are hung on the walls.
Three year old children are made to sit in front of the Goddess and they use the chalk, for the first time, to write on their slates. This is called haate khori. Sit and draw competitions are one of the popular activities of the day. In the evenings, children perform musical shows and act out plays.
To read more interesting festivals for kids, click here.