The Hindu community is set to celebrate Saraswati Puja, worshiping the goddess of knowledge, music, art and culture, across the country today like elsewhere in the world amid much enthusiasm, festivity and religious fervor.
President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in separate messages, greeted the members of the Hindu community on the occasion of the Saraswati Puja, local media reported. They pointed out the heritage of interfaith harmony and the government’s commitment to ensure rights of all people belonging to diverse religions to build a non-communal and secular ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami falls on the fifth day of the Bengali month of Maagh each year when Hindus worship goddess Saraswati to mark the coming of spring. Traditionally children are introduced to education and learning on the day of Saraswati Puja, and this ritual is called “Hatekhori”. Toddlers are usually given a slate and chalk to scribble with on the auspicious day.
Major Hindu temples, schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions stage the festival with traditional gaiety and religious fervor.
The students in particular seek blessings of goddess Saraswati in their pursuit of knowledge, art, music and culture.
Rituals of Saraswati Puja begins in the morning at the Dhakeswari National Temple.
In most temples, houses and educational institutions, the Puja begins in between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. followed by offering of “Anjali”. Then the children will be imparted “hatekhori” (introduction to learning of children) and later prashad (foodstuff devoted to the goddess) will be distributed among devotees.
However, the puja had been held at some temples, houses and educational institutions yesterday as the Tithi (occasion) to hold the puja began yesterday morning and it will continue to this morning.
According to Hindu faith, goddess Saraswati represents power, creativity and inspiration and presents herself when the weather is pleasant and nature is in its full grandeur.
Depicted as a graceful woman with a crescent moon adorning her brow, she is shown riding a swan or a peacock, or is seated on a lotus flower.
The most gorgeous Saraswati Puja will be arranged on the premises of Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University where a huge number of devotees and crowd will throng to perform the religious rituals and visit the pandals circled on the playground of the university’s largest dormitory.
Puja will also be arranged at Ram Krishna Mission, Jaganntah University, Siddheswari temple, Supreme Court premises, Farashganj, Shakhari Bazar, Tanti Bazar and different other places in old Dhaka, Banani, Dhaka College, Eden Girls’ College, BUET, Ramna Kali Mandir and Maa Anandamayi Ashram, Tejgaon College, Stamford University and different educational institutions in the city.
On Dhaka University campus, the Puja is also organized at all female dormitories – Rokeya Hall, Samsun Nahar Hall, Bangladesh Kuwait Moitri Hall, Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall and Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall.
Students from over 60 departments, institutes and faculties of the university have made arrangements for the puja on the playground of the dormitory this year.
Jagannth Hall administration is organizing the dormitory’s central puja at the dormitory’s Upashonaloy (place of prayers) while employees of the hall has staged several pandals to worship Saraswati.
Fine Arts Faculty students, however, are likely to take the lead at the Jagannath Hall puja with their creative and artistic works in the middle of a pond at the dormitory compound.