Knowledge is Bliss, and Indian culture has always attached great value to learning and evolving oneself since time immemorial. Considering art, music, speech, and wisdom an integral part of the society, our forefathers also gave utmost importance to the source of it, which is believed to be Maa Saraswati.
Thus, Saraswati Puja is considered to be one of the most important festivals observed across the country. Also celebrated on Basant Panchami, the day marks the beginning of the spring season after those long wintry days.
Since childhood, although devoid of its religious significance (as most of the kids are, at that stage of life), I waited eagerly for the festival to commence because it gave me the freedom to dress as per my desire, unlike winters where your parents force you to wear monkey caps and truck loads of woolen sweaters.
So, coming back to Saraswati puja, let’s delve deeper into the mythology that surrounds it!
Celebrated on the day of Basant Panchmi, Saraswati Puja holds a significant place in our hearts. According to the popular belief, Maa Saraswati was born on this day and thus, the festival is also known as Saraswati Jayanti in certain parts of the country.
Another legend talks about the time when Kalidas was ill-treated by his wife (who was a princess and saw her husband as a witless man), and he decided to end his life.
When he was about to jump in the river, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from that water and asked him to take a dip in it. From then on, Kalidas was blessed with immense wisdom and went on to become a renowned poet of his time.
Thus, stands tall the richness of this festival that is explicit across diverse religions and boundaries!
Celebration Across The Country!
Clad in white saree with veena, vedas and crystal rosary in her hands, Maa Saraswati is believed to be the embodiment of the highest form of learning among Indian culture.
As a child, I was always amazed with the sheer devotion and cheerfulness that people were filled with during Saraswati Puja. The hustle and bustle of the city used to start way before the festival and would reach its zenith on the pious day.
On Saraswati puja, the women of the house would get ready early in the morning in bright, yellow sarees. The men were no less and would wear kurtas. The day would begin by offering flowers, (Palash being the most important of all the flowers used) and prasad to the deity. The prasad generally included curd, butter, ghee, sugarcane, milk and parched rice.
As for the children, it would be kind of “no study day”, as books, pens and different musical instruments are kept at Maa Saraswati’s idol for the entire day so as to seek blessings from the goddess.
At my place as in many of the houses, the house was decorated and rangoli was made with powdered rice and flowers. Breaking coconut before the goddesse’s idol was yet another significant ritual. Finally, the day would end with the immersion of the idol in a nearby lake or river.
Indeed, one of the most revered festivals, Saraswati Puja brings in a new vigour and charm to our hearts that is indescribable and indispensable!
Basant Panchmi Dishes!
In India, any occasion seems incomplete if there are no luscious dishes adorning the dinner tables and inviting us towards them. Thus, Basant Panchmi is no different and carries a huge list of must-makes that you need to try out at your homes.
Here are a few common ones, eaten across the country:-
A delectable rice pudding, Kheer is a dish that is almost always present on any auspicious occasion. If you’re still having a hard time deciding what to cook this Saraswati puja, then you’re sorted as this dish will undoubtedly add upto your merriment.
Khichdi is yet another dish that can be made on this occasion.This nutritious and light food is simple to make and can also be served as a prasad to the deity.
Made from sweetened, fried chickpea flour, Boondi is an appealing dish that ought to be made on Basant Panchmi as it is considered to be one of the dietie's favorite foods. You can make this sweet dish and offer it as a prasad to Maa Saraswati.
This smooth, simmering dish is a great delicacy that you can try making without much hassles. Kesar Halwa makes a good companion during different occasions and more so during festivals like Saraswati Puja.
It is one of the must-makes during Basant Panchmi. Here you don’t have to cook but rather assemble certain goods, such as curd, popped rice, fruits, sweets and dairy products that will together make up this delicious dish.
Although considered to be a popular Bengali dish, Rajbhog is made across the country during Saraswati Puja. This super alluring dish is easy to make and can be made in no time.
Besan ke Ladoo
Made from roasted gram flour and powdered sugar, Besan Ke Ladoo is yet another favorite of mine that surely tops the list of items you can make during Saraswati Puja. This extremely delectable sweet will surely leave you and your relatives craving for more.
Thus, goes on the list that you can make and ratchet up your favorite festival this year!
Basant Panchmi heralds a fresh season in our life and also signifies a new hope after long, wintry days. The period gives us a chance to connect with the divine and seek her blessings in our life.
Undoubtedly, the charm and aura of Saraswati Puja seems unfathomable and is something that can only be relished and looked forward to with each passing year!