Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music, culture and learning, was worshiped across the state and people were seen carrying clay idols of the deity with a crescent moon on the brow, riding a swan or seated on a lotus.
Tiny tots and children decked up in traditional bright-yellow attires signifying 'Basant Panchami' -- heralding the arrival of spring. Women dressed pretty in saris and boys in kurtas and performing the ;Anjali' (offering of flowers with prayers).
This time the rituals started on Saturday as per the almanac. But the main pomp and celebration were stored for Sunday morning which continued till midday in schools, colleges, community clubs and households, with priests chanting mantras and devotees placing seasonal palash flowers at the deity's feet to the ringing sounds of cymbals and conch shells.
Flowers, fruits and sweets placed as "prasad" (offerings). Families throughout cities, towns and villages shared it among themselves.
To receive the goddess's blessings, students also placed their books, pens and musical instruments beside the idol for the entire day.
It was a day of mirth for children, for whom Saraswati puja is a "no study" day. Too happy to give their textbooks a miss, they participated in cultural functions organised in localities, educational institutes and households.
Small marquees came up in almost all localities where neighbours gathered to pay obeisance to the goddess, followed by sumptuous lunch comprising "khichuri" accompanied by eggplant fries, mixed vegetables and dollops of chutney and sweets. Such feasts were held in educational institutions also.
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