It is the day of the students, musicians and artists – Saraswati Puja. The goddess of knowledge Saraswati has four hands. One hand has a book, two hands are holding a Beena – a string musical instrument and the fourth has a bead-garland.
This year, on January 3, 2020 students and creative people in Nepal are worshiping the goddess of knowledge. I have been writing about Saraswati for the last few years:
Because of the Hindu majority in the country, most of the schools in Nepal celebrate Saraswati Puja festival. It is sort of a national festival. Some schools have big statues of Saraswati within their compound. As the schools give so much importance to the god, some students believe, the goddess help them to get a good grade.
Goddess Saraswati is a symbolic representation of knowledge and wisdom. That is why the statue is decorated in the way it is. Saraswati is represented by a beautiful woman dressed in white saree, sitting on a white lotus flower. The lotus and whiteness symbolize light, knowledge, insight, wisdom and truth. That is why the background is usually white themed and the image features white swan as the vehicle of the goddess.
In one hand she is holding a book and in two other hands he is holding a musical instrument veena. The symbolic significance of the festival is that, education is important. When people talk about education – they usually mean language, mathematics and science. Saraswati however has given higher importance to music by holding a big Veena in her hands. Likewise, sports and art are also different forms of education.
In addition to education, it is of cultural significance. The celebration of Saraswati Puja is our tradition and culture.
The festival falls on the fifth day of the bright half of the moon – usually in the Nepali month of Magh. The festival is celebrated mainly by the Hindu and Sikh communities of Nepal and the eastern parts of India.
In addition to worshiping Saraswati, this festival also symbolizes the start of the spring season in Nepal. So, it is the time to start the celebration of the end of the extreme cold days.
या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना।
या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा ।