Worshipping Goddess of Knowledge-Saraswati Pooja or Shree Panchami
Saraswati Pooja or Shree Panchami is also one of the important festivals of Nepal. It is the day when the Goddess of knowledge known as Saraswati is worshipped.
This day is also called Basant Panchami that signifies the beginning of Vasant Ritu (spring season) after ending dull and cold winter season.
In Newari culture, people worship “Sasma-Aaju” (newari name for Lord Manjushree) and worship Lord Manjushree as the God of knowledge who is believed to taught all the hand works by Budhist.
In Hinduism, Saraswati is one of the greatest creation of Lord Bhrama. She is believed to be the most beautiful creation of Brahma.
So this day holds importance for both Hindus and Buddhist.
How Saraswati Pooja is celebrated?
People wake up early in the morning and go to offer homage to the temple of Saraswati. Local people in Newari community offer “Kisli” a small mud cup which is filled with rice and in the top a coin is placed along with one unbroken nut. This is specially offered by children. After offering it, then parents or children themselves chooses fine unbroken seven grains of rice and swallow it without touching their teeth. If it touched the teeth, again you have to swallow another seven grains.
Specially Saraswati is the Goddess of Learning so the children are taken to temple and asked to read and write first letter of their life. The wall of Swaraswati temples across the country are scribbled by Nepali Alphabet, numbers and slokas. Kids use white chalk to write on the slate or wall. Therefore, it is very important day for every kid. It is believed, Shree Panchami is the best day to start learning new things. Students worship books, pens, notebooks and other instruments. Musician worship his/her instruments. Professionals worships their tools. In one sentence, this is the day when the source of knowledge, art and education are worshiped.
Students worship goddess Saraswati with more diligence and respect. Schools and colleges have special celebration of Saraswati puja in house.So there is a holiday in some schools and colleges whereas some school and colleges are open to celebrate this occassion by organizing different programs.
Since this day is believes to be very good and auspicious people get married, start new business and start new venture in this day.
There are many temples of Swaraswati across Nepal. In every temple vicinity there is always a small separate temple for Saraswati. It is a tradition of establishing Saraswati and Ganesh in every temple in Nepal.
Across Kathmandu valley there are three main temples of Goddess Saraswoti. They are Saraswoti Temple in Lele, Saraswoti temple in Swyambhu also known as Manjushree, Nil Saraswoti temple in Gairidhara. Devotees in Kathmandu valley visit these temples from early morning to late in the evening during this day.