The Saraswati Puja Committee are pleased to confirm the celebration of Saraswati Puja 2016 at the Punjabi Community Centre, Kembrey Park, Swindon (entrance via Cricklade Road) on Sunday 14 February.
Saraswati Puja or Vasant Panchami are celebrated on a respective auspicious day (the fifth day of the vernacular calendar) by different communities, especially the Bengalies. The 5th day of Magha is associated with the bandana or Puja of Devi Saraswati.
Devi Saraswati is the Goddess of wisdom, art, science and philosophy and for those reasons the worship of Goddess Saraswati has special significance in the careers of students, academicians, singers and musicians. Every year on the 5th day of magha huge section of the Hindus worship Goddess Saraswati. The devotees worship the Goddess by offering fruits, flowers and sweets.
On the same day of Saraswati Puja there is a tradition of children having “Hath-e Khori”. The priest who chants the mantras give a chalk and slate to a child and with the chalk asks the child to write the first letters of vernacular language. So from that time the education informally begins for the child. There on it continues formally once the child gets admitted in a school. Children attending the Puja are welcome to take part in Hath-e Khori and are asked to bring a chalk and slate or exercise book and pencil on the day.
Mina Bhogal, Company Secretary for Swindon Mela says “On behalf of the Swindon Mela Project Team I would like to congratulate the Swindon Puja Committee on their 4th anniversary of Saraswati Puja. The Mela has been involved with the planning of the Puja since its inception and supports the aims and objectives of the Committee in being committed to promoting their culture and heritage, supporting the society that they live in and reinforcing future generations with meaningful values.
“They strive to keep rich culture and heritage alive through various religious events, social and educational activities and cultural programs throughout the year. The Mela is pleased to be part of a growing association and are confident that through community ownership and partnership we can work together to promote community cohesion, racial harmony and diversity.
“Even though every year Saraswati Puja is performed on Basant to worship Saraswati, for Sikhs, in the Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple in Amritsar) Kirtan (Sikh devotional music) starts Basant Raga on the day of Vasant Panchmi. This practice continues up until the first day of Vaisakhi – a harvest festival for Punjabis and most importantly for the Sikh community the marking of the establishment of the Khalsa, the collective body of all initiated Sikhs.
“The main attraction of Basant is the tradition of kite flying a practice which is a very old custom attached to the festival. The colourful kites are flown in which during the process each person tries to cut off the others person’s kite – a hearty and fun competition to mark Basant as the start of spring.”
Apart from the Swindon Mela this year’s Puja has received an amazing amount of support from various community organisations such as The Swindon Hindu Temple Trust, Swindon Tamil Association, South Asian Performing Arts Council, Swindon Hindu Samaj, The Bangladesh Association Swindon and Swindians.
Swapan Roy, President of the Swindon Puja Committee says “I am overwhelmed with the offers of support and value the guidance that is being received. The Puja relies on volunteers and if anyone would like to help out on the day with various tasks (decorating the hall, food preparation/distribution) can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There is no entrance fee for the day’s event. However, any donations would be very much welcome to help with the cost of running the event – collection buckets will be available on the day. Community groups have provided volunteers to either perform or assist with the planning and delivery of the event and I am grateful for their support.
“There will also be information stalls from the Mela and Tamil Association and vendors selling jewellery, saris, eggless cakes, henna applications and even a raffle to raise vital funds to keep the event running yearly.”
The Saraswati Puja will be running throughout the day. There will be two segments to the program:
The first part being the Puja with entry from 11am onwards with the Puja to start at midday.
The second part being an evening Gala Cultural programme, which will start from 5.30 pm.