Vasant Panchami / Saraswati Puja Date 2016
Friday 12 February
Saraswati Puja is one of the main festivals of East India which is celebrated on the 5th day of Magh month of Hindu Calender which falls in January or February of English Calender. This is the day called Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchmi (Fifth Day of Spring) and indicates the beginning of Spring season. On this day, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped in East India and some parts of North India. In 2016, Saraswati Puja will be celebrated on Basant Panchami day which falls on 12th February 2016
As per Hindu mythology, Saraswati is the Goddess of learning, arts, crafts, wisdom and knowledge. As such, Saraswati pooja (worship) on the Basant Panchmi day is an important festival for students, art lovers and performers.
Saraswati Puja- Worship of Goddess Saraswati
People of east India (especially of Bengal, Orissa and Bihar) who have integrated learning and arts as one of their major cultural aspects, observe Sarasvati puja with great reverence. In north India too, Saraswati puja is observed in schools, colleges and other educational and art institutes through worshiping Goddess Sarasvati and by organizing music and dance programmes where songs dedicated to Mother Sarasvati are sung and dances welcoming spring season are performed. Women and children wear yellow colored dresses and flower ornaments made of yellow flowers like marigold and flame of the forest to welcome spring.
Saraswati Puja as Bangla Festival
Saraswati Puja is one of the major Bengali festivals which is not only celebrated in educational and art institutes but also at homes. Bengali families believe Sarasvati to be the daughter of Goddess Parvati and treat her as their own daughter. It is believed that on this day of Vasant Panchami, Goddess Saraswati was born. As such, this festival is celebrated in Bengal with great fervour and gaiety. Some of the ritual of Saraswati puja observed in Bengal include the following.
- On Basant Panchami day, idols of Goddess Saraswati are established in pooja pandals (decorated tent type temporary structure built in community areas) and worshipped by the whole local community together.
- Many Bengali families worship Saraswati idols or pictures of Saraswati at their homes.
- Traditionally, the students do not study on the day of sarasvati pooja and place their books, pens, pencils, musical instruments in front of the Goddess so that she could bless them with knowledge, wisdom and art.
- Small children who have not yet started going to school, are given ‘Haathe Khodi’ (chalk in hand) for the first time. This is a symbolic ritual observed by Bengalis which signify that the child has been blessed by Saraswati and would do good in study and arts all through his/her life.
- People fast on this day till they offer ‘Pushpanjali’ (worshiping with flowers) and chant Saraswati Mantras.
- Various foods and sweets are prepared and offered to the Goddess Saraswati and later had as her ‘Prasad’
- Community lunch is organized at the venue (Puja Pandals) of Saraswati Puja.
- Songs and dances are performed in the evening along with worshiping Saraswati again.
- On the next day of Saraswati puja, students pick up their books, pens etc. and write Saraswati mantras.
- The idol of Saraswati is prepared for ‘Bisarjan’ (immersion in water) on the second day of puja and a procession is organized to take the idol of Goddess to some water source. ‘Dhak’ (drum type musical instrument) is used to make the procession lively and everyone dance to its vibrating sound!
Saraswati Puja Mantras!
Saraswati Vandana (praise of Saraswati) is done through various Saraswati mantras. Many people consider the Basant Panchami day as the best day for writing the Saraswati Beej Mantra on the tongue of their child. They also make the child wear Saraswati yantra tied with a silk thread. Here are the important Saraswati mantras in Sanskrit with their meaning in English
Saraswati Mantra # 1
Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara dhavalaa, Yaa shubhravastraavritha|
Yaa veenavara dandamanditakara, Yaa shwetha padmaasana||
Yaa brahmaachyutha shankara prabhritibhir Devai sadaa Vanditha|
Saa Maam Paatu Saraswati Bhagavati Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa||
Meaning of Saraswati Mantra #1 in English
Goddess Saraswati, who is fair like jasmine-color moon, and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops; who wears pure white attire, on whose beautiful arm rests the veena (a musical instrument), whose throne is the white lotus, and who is surrounded, praised and respected by the Gods, may she protects me. May Goddess Saraswati make me get rid of my ignorance.
Saraswati Mantra #2
Shuklaam Brahma vichaar Saar Paramaadyaam Jagadvyaapineem Veennaa Pushtak
Dhaarinneebhamay Daam Jaad Yaapandhkaaraapahaam.
Haste Sfatik Maalikaam Vidhateem Paramaasane Sansthitaam Vande Taam
Parameshwareem Bhagwateem Buddhi Pradaam Shaaradaam.
Meaning of Saraswati Mantra #2 in English
I pray to deity Saraswati who has a fair complexion, who is the first and foremost of all divine energy, who is there in this world as knowledge, who wields Veenaa, Vedas, crystal rosary in her hands and whose hands are raised in blessing. Such Goddesss Saraswati is capable of ending ignorance and bestowing intelligence on all.
Saraswati Mantra #3
Saraswathi Namasthubhyam, Varadey Kaamarupinee|
Vidhyarambham Karishyami, Siddhir bhavathu mey sada||
Meaning of Saraswati Mantra #3 in English
Goddess, Saraswathi, my humble prostrations unto Thee, who can fulfill of all my wishes. I begin my studies with, bless me so that I succeed in my endeavour.
Saraswati Mantra # 4
Saraswati Mahabhage Vidye Kamalalochane|
Vishwaroope Vishaalaakshi Vidyam dehi namosthuthe||
Meaning of Saraswati Mantra #4 in English
O, the great Goddess Saraswati, who has eyes like lotus and who represent knowledge. O, Goddess with large eyes, who takes the form of whole universe, shower me with all the powers and glories of all knowledge that exist.
Saraswati Mantra #5
Om Aim Kleeng Saum Saraswatiya Namaha
Chanting of this Saraswati mantra while worshipping in the morning enables a person to be a learned scholar and attain heights of learning.