The first mention of Saraswati occurs in the Atharvaveda around 1000 BC and the most ardent followers of the goddess Saraswati are the Bengali who regard her as the mother of the Vedas. Saraswati puja is normally enacted during the morning hours and mantras and slokas are chanted. Sandlewood, ghee, incense sticks are used. White is the colour preferred by Saraswati, basanti is also permitted. Saraswati holds Veena, an Indian string and books in her four hands and sits on a white lotus, which is a symbol of purity. The white swan is her carrier or Vahana and symbolizes righteousness. Among other fruits ‘kool’ or Plums are particularly offered. Bengali boys and girls do not touch plum before offering to Saraswati which is later eaten as Prasad. ‘Don’t eat plum. You will fail in exam.’ – this warning still clings to our memory. Today, we understand how plum sellers suffer economically for this.
Nature is decked with all beauties. Aamer mukul or the mango buds begin to occur in trees and this makes the trees beautiful with possibilities- the darling buds of mango.Kichidi or hodgepodge is the other fantastic item served on plates after the long starvation for the puja to the deity. It is ever delicious and tasty. We become nostalgic for Khichdi, aloo or brinjal fry and chatni… wow. Wonderful menu of saraswati pujo ! The other memorable thing is the vasanti or orange yellow clothes to mark the advent of spring. In earlier days this vasanti colour was made at home from the stems of the Shiwli flower by a natural process and clothes were dyed in this colour.
This is a fabulous day for the students. No study and Jack is not a dull boy. Nowadays, Saraswati Puja has become a day for friendship and enjoyment. Students go to schools and colleges in the early morning and take prasads. This is also a good opportunity for speaking their heart to each other. The joyful moments make them ecstatic and sometimes they find time for love making. For many, Saraswati Puja day becomes a Bengali Valentine Day. The first ride together and the first strolling together bring the two hearts nearer and closer. Guys and gals are all in a mood of fantasy with no studies and all friendship. In the happy and holy hour of the morning and daytime with pressure of ‘no study’, only Valentine's Day can be observed with guys and gal being in such as ecstatic mood.
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