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Remembering Goddess of Learning

  Saraswati Puja is not just about worshipping the goddess on this particular day; it is also about learning to respect things other than education which will help us in life


KATHMANDU: Shreepanchami, also known as Basanta Panchami or Saraswati Puja, a remarkable day for every student, is just around the corner. On February 4, you will see throngs of students visiting temples of Saraswati early in the morning. They won’t miss to worship books, notebooks, pens and musical instruments too. They even write on the walls of temple to get the Goddess’ blessings. While many children start writing their first letters on this day, most of the educational institutions too celebrate the day together with their students. It is a day to pay homage to the Goddess of Learning.

Own ways of celebration

On the day of Saraswati Puja, Unesh Shrestha Class XI student at VS Niketan, Minbhawan wakes up early in the morning and visits the nearby Saraswati temple. “I do my prayers and ask the Goddess Saraswati to help me learn in the best way possible,” says Shrestha who celebrates this festival every year.

Meanwhile, Sajina Nepali, an MSc Ist Year student at Golden Gate College, Old Baneshwor worships Goddess Saraswati along with her books, pens and notebooks at home. Interestingly, Neerab Sainju’s first day at college was on the day of last year’s Shreepanchami. The Class XI student at VS Niketan expresses, “On that day we had a celebration at college where all the students and faculty members gathered for prayer.”

Every college has its own way of celebrating Basanta Panchami. And the celebration depends upon the students, as per Bishista Shree Bhattarai, Lecturer at Tri-Chandra Multiple Campus, Ghantaghar. “Usually interested students raise funds and organise a special puja. However, many times it may not be celebrated in the college if the festival falls during winter vacation,” Bhattarai further informs.

Importance of the day

Every festive celebration has its special significance. Saraswati Puja too has its value in Nepali culture. Sharmila Dahal, a BBS graduate from Kavre Multiple Campus, Banepa regards this day to remember and worship the Goddess of Knowledge. “It is a special day where one can start his/her learning process,” she opines.

Meanwhile, for Bhattarai, the festival is a “source of psychological support to the students. Along

with providing hope, it motivates them to study.”

While some students are very serious about their studies, there are those who neglect it. And a festival like Shreepanchami helps those students to remember and respect their books and educational materials, points out Anish Maharjan, a BSc CSIT Ist Year student at Prime College, Khusibu.

To this Nepali adds, “If you respect your books, then the books will also respect you in return. Nonetheless, the celebration is important as it teaches us to respect things that are useful to us. In general, this festival urges students to practice respect which is valuable and is required in one’s entire lifetime.”

However, it is not right to wait for this day to take care of their educational materials. “Students must always take care of their books and notebooks,” advises Maharjan who feels, “Remembering Goddess Saraswati helps us to gain confidence while studying during examinations.”

The changes

Saraswati Puja indeed is of great value to students. But not all colleges celebrate the festival these days. And even many students don’t seem eager to organise activities in their colleges like they used to do in school.

Amogh Manandhar, a BSc CSIT Ist Year student at Prime College reasons the responsibility of being a college student does not allow him time to organise celebrations on a large scale like he used to do during school days.

But Nepali is of the opinion that “Saraswati Puja should be observed in colleges too as it helps the students and teachers remember and respect what we are learning.”

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