Goddess Saraswati is regarded as the goddess of learning and music. It is believed that she is robed in white. She carries a lyre. She is seated on a lotus. She bestows vidya which means learning.
Therefore, the Saraswati Puja is-a popular festival of the Students. It is celebrated by the Students in almost all schools and colleges of Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal. It is celebrated on the fifth day in the month of Magha, especially in spring season. Therefore this festival is also called the Basanta Panchami. All educational institutions remain closed on this day. Students worship, the goddess with great joy.
Preparation for the celebration begins with the collection, of subscription from the students. The idol of the goddess Saraswati is placed in a hall which is properly cleaned and decorated with coloured papers. The idol is also decorated with such flowers as marigold and rose. The image looks sublime and the atmosphere grand.
This is an auspicious day for the students. They abstain from reading and writing on this day only as a mark of respect to the goddess. Notwithstanding this austere observance, students enjoy this festival with great pleasure. A learned Hindu Priest is invited to perform the holy Puja of the goddess.
Normally students wear new dress on this day. They pray the goddess for wisdom; they also offer flowers to the deity and sing the prayer-song in her honour. Another remarkable feature of the Puja is the breaking of coconuts in front of the deity. The Prasad is shared by the students, teachers and the guests.
Often, the students arrange feasts. Cultural programmers are also arranged on the evening.
Normally, the immersion ceremony takes place on the next day. The students carry the image of the goddess in a grand procession to the nearby river. Often a band party is also arranged for the purpose. The celebration comes to the end with the immersion of the idol.
The function has a deep educative value. Students learn to be spiritual in their life. They also learn the value of co-operation, amity and leadership.
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