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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in India Lesson 6 - Festival of the Goddess of Arts and Wisdom
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in India Series at HindiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hindi holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 6 - Festival of the Goddess of Arts and Wisdom. In Hindi, it’s called Saraswati Puja.
In the Hindu religion, the Goddess Saraswati is the deity of music, dance, and every other form of learning and science. Do you know how she is worshipped?
In this lesson, we are talking about the Festival of the Goddess Saraswati, or Saraswati Puja. This festival is also known as Basant Panchami and falls either in the last week of January or first week of February each year.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Which animal is the vehicle of the Goddess Saraswati?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Basant Panchami marks the beginning of the Spring season. In eastern India, especially Bengal, this day marks the occasion of Saraswati Puja. Depicted holding a musical instrument called the Veena in her arms, Saraswati is the goddess of education, or Vidya, music, or Sangeet, arts, or Kala and knowledge, or Gyan. The verdant and colorful spring, along with the Puja of the Goddess Saraswati, create a festive atmosphere. The color yellow has especially great significance in the festival, and yellow flowers of mustard or Sarson are used in decorations. In Bengal, girls of all ages wear yellow sarees.
Learning is worshipped in this divine form of Hinduism. Homes are decorated with art and several art competitions are organised for the occasion. Religious rites are conducted in schools and homes, and Prasad, meaning food offerings, of spring fruits are offered to the Goddess. During this time, students pray for excellence in the arts and in learning by touching flowers to the feet of idols of the Goddess and preserving those flowers in their books for blessings. Then they visit each household and distribute blessed food.
In the northern Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab, this festival is also celebrated as the festival of spring, called Basant. People wear yellow clothes and cook yellow dishes, such as saffron rice. A kite flying competition is organized in Ferozepur district during this time, and in northern India, there is a tradition among Sufi saints in which special floral wreaths are placed on the graves of passed saints in celebration of the Basant festival.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Which animal is the vehicle of Goddess Saraswati?
The vehicle used by Goddess Saraswati is a white swan. This bird is a symbol of purity and beauty.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are arts and learning worshipped in a similar fashion in your country as well?
Leave us a comment telling us at HindiPod101.com!
And we’ll see you in the next lesson!

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Are arts and learning worshipped in a similar fashion in your country as well?