The Hindu community is celebrating Saraswati Puja across the country today amid much enthusiasm, festivity and religious fervour.
Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami falls on the fifth day of the Bengali month of Maagh each year when Hindus worship goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, to mark the coming of spring.
Traditionally, children are introduced to education and learning on the day of Saraswati Puja. This ritual is called “Hatekhori”. Toddlers are usually given a slate and chalk to scribble with.
Major Hindu temples, schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions stage the festival with traditional gaiety and religious fervour.
The students in particular seek blessings of goddess Saraswati in their pursuit of knowledge, art, music and culture.
Nirmal Kumar Chattarjee, general secretary of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, said Saraswati Puja is now not limited to only the Hindus; rather members of other religious communities, specially the youths, celebrate it spontaneously as a festival.
He said rituals of Saraswati Puja would begin in the morning at the Dhakeshwari National Temple.
In most temples, houses and educational institutions, the Puja will begin in between 8:00am and 10:00am. It will be followed by offering of “anjali”. The children will be imparted “hatekhori” and later prashad (foodstuff devoted to the goddess) will be distributed among devotees.
According to Hindu faith, goddess Saraswati represents power, creativity and inspiration and presents herself when the weather is pleasant and nature is in its full grandeur.
Depicted as a graceful woman with a crescent moon adorning her brow, she is shown riding a swan or a peacock, or is seated on a lotus flower.
The most gorgeous Saraswati Puja will be arranged on the premises of Dhaka University's Jagannath Hall where a huge number of devotees and crowd will throng the university's largest dormitory to perform religious rituals and visit the pandals.
Puja will also be arranged at Ram Krishna Mission, Jagannath University, Siddheswari temple, Farashganj, Shakhari Bazar, Tanti Bazar, Banani, Dhaka College, Eden Girls College, Buet, Ramna Kali Mandir and Maa Anandamayi Ashram, Tejgaon College, Stamford University and different educational institutions in the city.