Nepal can be called the land of festivals because the nation celebrates at least one festival every month.’Saraswati Puja‘ or ‘Shree Panchami’, a Hindu festival also referred to as ‘Basanta Panchami‘ falls in early spring. It is also known as Basanta Panchami as it heralds the onset of Basanta ritu(spring season).
During ‘Saraswati Puja‘ Hindus worship Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music and art. The goddess is the consort of Lord Brahma(the Hindu god of wisdom) and is seen wearing white, seated on a white lotus or a white swan. She has four hands holding a veena (a stringed musical instrument), books and a floral garland. She is the patron goddess of students, artists, musicians , writers and for those involved in the creative arts and learning.
Hindus regard ‘Sarawati Puja’ or ‘Shree Panchami’ as an auspicious day to start learning new things. The day is very important for new learners and parents whose kids who are of the school going age make them learn their first letters on this day.
On this day it is not uncommon to come across parents at shrines dedicated to the goddess, urging their kids to scribble their first letters on the temple’s wall. Students worship the goddess by offering varieties of sweets, garlands and tika. Tools of learning and creative arts like books, pens, notebooks and other instruments are worshiped.
This day is also regarded auspicious for tying the knot and starting a new business. Hindu couples usually get married on this day. Likewise business establishments are opened and house warming parties are also organized on this day.
While paying a visit to the temple of Goddess devotees usually wear yellow coloured attires, as the colour is regarded auspicious. Vedic hymns and prayers are chanted in the name of the goddess. The goddess’s name is invoked asking her blessings and to fill one’s life with the wisdom and knowledge that only she can bestow.