Hindus all over the world are celebrating Saraswati Puja to pay obeisance to the goddess of wisdom and learning, and the deity for fine and performing arts — Saraswati.
Saraswati Puja, performed on the Vasant Panchami day every year, is celebrated across the country, mostly in educational institutions, where the Hindu students seek the blessings of Ma Saraswati.
Depicted as a graceful woman with a crescent moon adorning her brow, she is shown riding a swan or a peacock, or is seated on a lotus flower.
On this auspicious day, Hindu children are also imparted their first lessons in reading and writing.
On the eve of Puja, prime minister Sheikh Hasina in a message on Monday greeted the Hindu community.
In the capital, Saraswati Puja has been a tradition at Dhakeswari temple, Siddheswari temple, Ram-Krishna Mission, Supreme Court premises, Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University, Dhaka College, Eden Girls' College and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
Saraswati, a mythological consort of Lord Brahma, is the personification of knowledge – arts, science and crafts. She represents power, creativity and inspiration and presents herself when the weather is pleasant and nature is in its full grandeur. It is a season of inspiration and passion.
One of the idol makers at Ramna Kali Temple Babul Pal told bdnews24.com on Sunday: "Six idol artists are making around 50 idols under the supervision of chief idol artist, Amulla Pal, mostly as per the orders from the surrounding top educational institutions, including Dhaka University."
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad President Subrata Chowdhury had told bdnews24.com that this year the Puja was being celebrated in over 100,000 places across the country, including the temples and educational institutions.
PUJA ON DU CAMPUS
In Dhaka University, the Puja is organised at Jagannath Hall, Bangladesh Kuwait Moitri Hall, Rokeya Hall, Shamsun Nahar Hall and Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall.
Students from over 50 departments of the university have made arrangements for the Puja on the Jagannath Hall playground this year.
The entire Jagannath Hall wears a festive look, with colourful canopies and mondaps all around.
According to organisers, alongside the Hindu students of the Hall, their friends from other religions are also enjoying the fun and frolic with equal fervour.
Jagannath Hall Provost Prof Ajoy Kumar Das told bdnews24.com that nearly 55 mondaps had been set up on the hall ground by students from different departments.
He said the Puja started at 00:01am Tuesday through setting up idols, Bani Archana was held at 8:30am, pushpanjali at 9:00am and distribution of prosad (food items dedicated to the goddess) at 11:00am.
"Arati (special prayer) will take place at 6:30pm, while a cultural function will be held at 8:30pm," Prof Das said.
The other programmes of the day include voluntary blood donation and a religious discussion.