Happiness is trying to keep our traditions alive. Living far away from home and especially somewhere, where there aren’t too many Indians forget Bengalis it’s difficult. But I’m trying to keep alive some of the traditions that are close to my and the hubby’s heart.
Saraswati puja is one such. Saraswati is the goddess of learning, knowledge and arts. Growing up it was one of our most favorite days. It was also called the Bengali Valentines Day. It was the day girls of all ages mostly would be decked up in their favorite yellow colored saree and boys would flaunt their crisp starched kurta-pajamas. There would be pujas not only in every corner of the locality but also some schools, colleges, tutorials and performing arts schools would have their puja. Of course the puja would also be followed by cultural programs performed by the students to please the goddess. So it was a day where you could check out the local guys n gals at their best.
But I digress, that wasn’t why this day was my favorite. As a tradition, early in the morning after bath all our books would be offered to the goddess for blessings. And you could take the books only the day after. And it was also said that this one day, we couldn’t touch our books. Suffice it to say, that was reason enough to make it the most favorite holiday for most of us kids. As most Bengali traditions, any puja day is incomplete without a set of new clothes. And saraswati puja was no exception.
Often on these days, I wish we stayed in one of those big Indian hubs like Nj where we could be a part of the Bengali association and participate in all our traditional events. But that’s a post for another day.
So these days, we try to make our own traditions with whatever we can. I make the traditional food, wear traditional clothes and try to do my own little puja with the hubby and Daughter. I sent Daughter to school wearing a new tee to carry on the tradition of new clothes. With today being a school day, we couldn’t fit too many elaborate plans. She loves wearing Indian clothes and I promised her as soon as she’s done with homework she could take a shower and change into something she wishes. She also with the help of hubby decorated our little prayer room with flowers.
Our little puja nook
Lunch was a traditional khichuri and some fritters which was devoured just by the hubby and I. I made a simple dinner of puri or luchi as we bongs call it, alu-dum and kheer which we first offered to the gods and then ate together. This is the fourth year of us celebrating this day in our own little way and I hope we continue this tradition for the many years to come.