India is a land of festivals and celebrations. These festivals give an opportunity for the people to come together and share in each other's joys. All the festivals are celebrated with gaiety, merriment and pomp. Indeed, it is rightly said of India that here one just needs an excuse to celebrate. In this land of numerous deities, not only are festivals celebrated in remembrance of these gods and goddesses, but also on the advent of even commencement of a season.
One such festival is Vasant Pnachami, which heralds the coming of vasant ritu of spring. On a more religious note, the festival is celebrated in honour of Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. The festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the lunar month of Magh, which falls somewhere between January and March.
Celebrated on the onset of spring, it marks the beginning of new life with yellow mustard flowers starting to bloom and nature displaying her majestic best. Thus the colour of the festival is yellow and women can be seen dotted in saffron dresses.
The puja on this day is devoted to Saraswati and people pray for wisdom and understanding.
There are several ways in which puja is conducted on this day.
In Bengal, the place where the statue of Saraswati is kept is decorated with a rangoli. The design of a fish is considered auspicious.
Family members bathe early in the morning and dress in whit or yellow coloured clothes. Then they gather around the idol, where the priest commences the puja.
Aarti is taken of the idol and the flame is passed arounfd the devotees to warm there hands and touch there foreheads.
Children place their books at the goddesses feet. No books our touched that day, signifying that the books are being blessed by the goddess.
In Rajsthan also the puja is conducted in a very colourful manner. The youngest girl of the house present sets the stage for the puja by putting a teeka on everyone's forehead.
This is followed by the devotees sprinkling water, aipun and roli on the diety.
The puja ends with the lady of the house giving a few bers, some sangaris and a laddoo and a paan to everyone present.