‘Saraswati Puja’ (also known as Basant Panchami, or Shri Panchami) is a festival celebrated by Hindus and Shikhs (also by a considerable number of Jains and Buddhists) all over the world especially in Nepal and India. In this day, Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge is worshipped. This day is also believed to be the birthday of the Goddess by Hindus, and marriage anniversary day of Guru Govind Singh by Shikhs.
The Saraswati Puja festival falls in fifth day of the month of Magh every year according to the Nepali calendar, which is in late January. As the Spring season is considered to start from Maghe Sankranti (Magh 1st), this day is popularly known as Basant Pandhami (which translates as Fifth Day of Spring Season).
Saraswati Puja, the Goddess of Knowledge is believed to be the most beautiful and one of the greatest creation of Lord Brahma. She is worshiped as the source of all intelligence and creativity. Her blessings are the source of innovation and knowledge. She is the creator of art, music, science and all education.
या कुंदेंदु तुषारहार धवला, या शुभ्र वस्त्रावृता |Ya Kunden tusharahara dhabala Ya subrabastrabita !
या वीणावर दण्डमंडितकरा, या श्वेतपद्मासना || Ya Veenavara dandmanditakara Ya sweta padhamasana !!
या ब्रह्माच्युतशंकरप्रभ्रृतिभिर्देवै: सदा वन्दिता | Ya Brahmachyut-shankara-prabrithibhih-devai sadhha vandita !
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती नि:शेष्य जाड्यापहा || Saa Maam paatu Saraswati Bhagwati Ni-shyeshya Jaadyaapaha !!
In Nepal, the Saraswati Puja is one of the most important festivals especially for the students, who have a passion to learn. The students believe that worshipping Goddess Saraswati in this day gives them the willingness to learn, and increase their talent and will power. They worship their books, pen, notebooks and all the studying materials. The artists and musicians worship their instruments as well. In this day, children are taken to Saraswati temple and asked to read and write first letter of their life. Schools and colleges have the idol of Saraswati in their periphery, and they mostly conduct a special programme for the students to worship her. People also visit the temples, and contests and competitions such as quiz are conducted as well.