Every year, the anticipation for Saraswati Puja builds up. As winter's embrace tightens, thoughts inevitably turn to the grand celebration of Saraswati Puja. It's not confined to homes but extends to schools, colleges, educational institutions, and neighbourhood clubs.
For the younger generation, Saraswati Puja signifies more than a religious event; it's the Bengali version of Valentine's Day. School corridors witness love stories blossoming, with students strolling hand in hand through the city's alleys. Meanwhile, scholars immerse themselves in the worship of the goddess ‘Bagdevi’. As the next month arrives, it marks the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, 2024.
Let's explore when Saraswati Puja falls next year and how long this auspicious moment will last. According to the calendar, Saraswati Puja falls on a special day, 1st Falgun, equivalent to February 14 in the Gregorian calendar, which happens to be a Wednesday. Interestingly, this date coincides with Valentine's Day, merging the celebration of love for Bengalis.
According to the almanack, Panchami begins on february 13, 2024, at 2:41 PM and continues until February 14, 2024, Wednesday, 12:09 PM. On this day, yellow hues dominate the scene as people from all walks of life adorn themselves in yellow attire, creating a vibrant atmosphere.
Apart from the festive colours, Saraswati Puja involves offering specific items to please the goddess. Goddess Saraswati is pleased with offerings like Amar Mukul (immortal flower), Abhra-Avira (cloud-like incense), Dhatu-Khagar Kalam (metallic pen), Palash Flower, and books and musical instruments. Additionally, wearing clothes in the colour Basanti (spring) is considered auspicious.
Traditionally, it is believed that Saraswati Puja should be completed before having food on that day, as the goddess becomes dissatisfied otherwise. However, there is a deeper significance behind this practice.
Before concluding the worship, the Saraswati Puja Pranam Mantra is recited:
Namo Saraswatyai Namo Namah, Nityam Bhadrakalyai Namo Namah, and Vedavedanga Vedantasthanebhyah Evacha
Followed by the Pushpanjali Mantra:
Om Jay Jay Devi Characharasare, Kuchayug Shobhita Mukta Haare, Veena Ranjit Pustak Haste, and Bhagavati Bharati Devi Namohastute
And finally, the Saraswati Vandana:
Namo Sarvateera Tale Cha Shobhite, Saraswati Namoastubhyam Varade Kaamarupini, Vidyarambham Karishyami Siddhirbhavatu Me Sada.
With Valentine's Day and Saraswati Puja coinciding this year, make the most of this dual celebration. Incorporate the Pushpanjali with the expression of love—a unique blend of tradition and modernity.