Kolkata/Allahabad, Feb 11 : School students in Kolkata celebrated the spring festival of 'Basant Panchami' with great enthusiasm on Monday.
On this day, offerings are made to the Goddess Saraswati who is credited with bestowing the greatest wealth to humanity, the wealth of learning.
Keeping up with the tradition of offering prayers to the goddess of learning, students offered prayers along with their teachers at an elaborate ceremony.
Children kept books and writing instruments before the deity and sought the blessings of the goddess.
"According to Hindu mythology, Saraswati is worshipped as goddess of learning, goddess of art and goddess of culture. But, it is typicality of West Bengal to perform Saraswati puja in schools," said Shukti Roy, a teacher.
The day is also considered auspicious for initiating children into learning. Tradition has it that children should not be helped by adults into learning until the initiation ceremony is performed before Goddess Saraswati.
A large number of children are initiated into learning at temples or at home in front of an idol of the Goddess Saraswati.
In Allahabad, millions of devotees took the holy dip in the River Ganga River.
The fourth bathing festival of Magh Mela is an important part of 'Basant Panchami'.
The colour yellow also plays a significant part in this festival.
A deity of Goddess Saraswati decorated with mustard, sunflower and other yellow blooms. People also prefer to wear yellow coloured clothes on this day.
Yellowish sweetmeats are distributed among relations and friends. Some people feed Brahmins, some perform Pitri-Tarpan (ancestor worship) and many worship Kamadeva, the God of Love.
Basant or spring which coincides with Panchami or the waxing moon at the end of January or early February is considered auspicious by Indians.