Bavinee Shrestha-Thapa
Saraswati Puja which is also known as “Basanta Panchami” or “Shree Panchami” is a well-known Hindu festival commonly celebrated in Nepal. This festival is acknowledged by worshiping Goddess Saraswati across the Hindu community. Goddess Saraswati in Hindu mythology is regarded as the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, and the patron of students. The festival is considered as an auspicious day for starting anything new in life with a commitment to a good cause. As per the Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the Nepali month of Magh or Falgun (Jan – Feb). On the other hand, Saraswati Puja also marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

To Hindus around the world, this day is considered a very auspicious day for kids and young students. For example, smaller kids are encouraged to write their first letters and alphabets while children pay a visit to Goddess Saraswati’s temple to appease her by reading and writing. Thus, devotees on this day visit temples of Goddess Saraswati from early morning to late evening, and the walls of Saraswati temples are jotted with alphabets and numbers. Literature reveals that there are three key temples of Goddess Saraswati in Kathmandu valley and they are Nil Saraswati temple in Gairidhara, Saraswati temple in Lele, and Swayambhu.

Educational institutions remain closed on this day, while students and teachers are invited to school to celebrate the traditional ceremony. Mr. Nilandri Sekhar Parial, Principal of Premier International IB World School, and other teachers were present at the ceremony organized at the school on 6 February 2022. The Puja was performed by a priest following the Hindu rituals, mantras, and offerings to Goddess Saraswati. With the celebration of Saraswati Puja at school, we sincerely hope that 2022 will bring a Covid-free educational system where life can return back to normalcy and students can enjoy in-person schooling.