There’s a famous saying about the festivals of Bengal—“for the Bengalis there are thirteen festivals to be celebrated in twelve months”. However, the main festival season in Bengal gears off with Vishwakarma festival (celebrated on 15th of September) and culminates with the Saraswati Puja (celebrated in late January or early February). Well, although Durga Puja is the main festival of Bengal, youth and children of Bengal seem at their gayest best during Saraswati Puja. If you can find one single child seated alone in his/her home, then you can well be the luckiest person on the planet.
Let’s look at a few things which keep their young adults busy during this day (chronologically)—
5. Drape a Yellow Sari and Offer Prayers at Home
Since it’s the festival of learning, Saraswati Puja is held almost at every household of the state. The Bengali children’s routine starts with (since, God knows when!) waking up at dawn, taking a super cool bath and draping a cotton yellow sari (since it’s the favorite color of the deity) and offering Puja at home. And, if a particular household doesn’t hold the particular Puja, their neighbors’ door is always welcome—so what’s it’s at that awkward time?
4. Visit Schools or Colleges
Yes, you heard it right; it is perhaps the only festival ever when all the schools and colleges remain open for not only their own students but also their parents, their friends—literally, for everyone. Since Saraswati is regarded as the Goddess of Learning, most of the schools and colleges of Bengal make it a point to celebrate this festival with pomp and show. Draped in their favorite saris (for the ladies) and kurta pyajama (for the gentlemen), the students’ first stop is always their schools and colleges where they again offer “pushpanjali” before digging into piping hot khichdi and other delectable savories.
3. Going Around Openly With Your Valentine
Yes, we did use the term “Valentine”, though the festival isn’t always celebrated on the Valentine’s Day—the Saraswati Puja is widely celebrated as the Bengali Valentine’s Day! Apparently, even the strictest household doesn’t stop their children to spend one whole day out with friends—and, naturally, the “children” takes this advantage. The streets remain filled with lovey-dovey couples on this day—the liaisons which remain within the premises of schools and colleges, breathe the open, fresh air on this day. The parks, streets, restaurants, movie halls, theatres—everywhere seems simply congested on this day. When the whole country forces special but ruthless rules on Valentine’s Day, West Bengal glorifies and celebrates not one but two Valentine’s Days!
2. Rush Off to the Tutorials or Dance/Singing/Painting Classes
You can go around the whole day with your friends, but you simply cannot miss out on your “duties”. Yes, it’s sort of a duty to attend the cultural programs held at the tutorials and other classes providing extra-curricular tuitions. Well, any person residing out of Bengal might find this quite disgusting, but the students in here love to follow all the “regulations” on this “auspicious” day. These cultural programs are much sorted after where the participation of all students is mandatory—making the whole program much more jovial and fun. Besides, there’s another level of fun at celebrating some special event at places which prove to be nothing but head-ache for the rest of the year!
1. Cultural Program at Home
Well, the day hasn’t yet got over—we’ve still got another event to go. Basically, the students have to perform multi-tasking on this particular day—and, oh boy! The students of Bengal (Bengalis and other non Bengalis residing in Bengal) are so good at this. After such a tiresome day, you just cannot end up in bed; you have to attend the cultural gathering held at your housing society or your relatives’ place or at your own place. After all, there must be something for the adults too, and how can any adult celebrate this day without their children? Does this seem too complex a logic? Well, our children don’t seem to bother anything—and make it a point to enjoy this day to the fullest!