Pradeep Pattanayak

The educational institutions across the State on Thursday celebrated the 74th Republic Day and Saraswati Puja with much joy and fervour. 

Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom and performing arts, is worshipped on the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magh. The day is known as Vasant Panchami. 

Since Republic Day and Saraswati Puja fell on the same day in 2023, the educational institutions had started the preparation well in advance. On Thursday, students were seen going to schools in their new clothes. 

In the morning, the flag hoisting was observed with students singing the National Anthem in chorus. Thereafter, sweets were distributed among the students. Then preparation for the worship of the goddess Saraswati started. 

While invited priests performed the puja at the auspicious time, the students offered ‘pushpanjali’ to the goddess. In some schools, students were seen performing 108 'Laksharchana.' The entrancing sounds of divine mantras and hymns and fragrances of flowers and incense sticks filled the air, setting the perfect mood for devotional celebration. The day culminated with prasad distribution among the students. 

“Laksharchana means we want to please goddess Saraswati so that she should bless us with wisdom and education. We also want that our aim in life should be fulfilled,” said a student of Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir in Balasore. 

“Laksharchana was performed at our school. Students came to the school with raw rice, blades of grass, flowers, incense sticks and prasad. They invoked the goddess in a unique way,” informed a teacher of Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir in Balasore.

(Reported by Rashmi Ranjan Dash from Balasore, OTV)