Bengali Association of Greater Atlanta celebrates Saraswati Puja
Saraswati with her swan, symbolizing the ability to know what is good, what is eternal. (Photo: Shankar Sengupta)
The Bengali Association of Greater Atlanta (BAGA) presented a celebration of Saraswati Puja on January 28, 2012 at Norcross High School.
According to Hindu scriptures, Saraswati is the goddess of education, learning, and performing arts. Saraswati Puja is celebrated on Basant Panchami, the fifth day of Spring in India. India has six seasons rather than four, and Spring begins in the middle of January, in the month of Maagh according to the Indian lunar calendar. This year the celebration was held on that very day.
The puja, conducted by priest Dr. Sailendra Banerjee, was followed by pushpanjali (offering of flowers) and aarati. Hathe kori was also held: a number of tiny tots offered their homage to the goddess of education by writing their first lines using chalk on a piece of slate.
A little one is initiated into the world of education by being helped to write her first words on this Saraswati Puja in Atlanta. (Photo: Shankar Sengupta)
A sit-and-draw competition for children of different age groups was organized. Attendees also enjoyed and competed in a table tennis tournament. Lunch was traditional Bengali cuisine, but atypically, attendees did not have to stand in line, but were treated to food served to them on their tables by volunteers. Another innovation this year was selling popular street foods which Bengalis crave: “Gariahat” (named after a major shopping area of Kolkata) was BAGA’s hub for stalls, activities, food, snacks, saris, jewelry, and fun, as well as a way to raise funds for community activities and events for 2012.
The cultural program that followed was coordinated and performed (for the first time in its thirty-three years) by second-generation Bengali-Americans. The theme was appropriately “Discovery of Bengal—a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors, creations, sights, and sounds!” After an invocation to Saraswati and Brahma with a dance and a couple of slokas, several songs and dances were performed. Noted Bengali artists, sculptors, and painters were showcased. The show concluded with a promotional video created for BAGA by Dr. Raktim Sen, called Choto Bangla Gorechi (“we have created a small Bengal here”).
The event was attended by more than three hundred fifty people from the Atlanta area and neighboring states.
Website Bonus Features
Link with Photos & Video:
Saraswati Puja 2012: Basant Panchami Heralds Spring, Celebrates Knowledge (PHOTOS, MANTRAS)
The Huffington Post Jahnabi Barooah
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