Kathmandu, February 13
Hindu communities across the country today observed Shree Panchami, also known as Basanta Panchami, by worshiping the Hindu goddess Saraswati, the deity of learning, wisdom, knowledge and arts.
Parents and guardians start teaching alphabets to their children today with the belief that it is an auspicious day. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari attended the Basanta Shrawan ritual organised today in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square. She listened to 12 verses recited by Devraj Aryal, chief priest at the Hanumandhoka Durbar Office.
Also present were the Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha, Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar, ministers, chiefs of constitutional bodies, high-level government officials and chiefs of all four security agencies.
The chief priest offered tika and prasad to the distinguished high-level officials. President Bhandari was also offered a guard of honour by a contingent of the Nepali Army.
Students, teachers, musicians, artists, researchers and beginners of any auspicious work worship goddess Saraswati.
Devotees and students were seen thronging various Saraswati temples across the country since early morning to perform puja and make wishes. As per tradition, the head of state and high-level officials attend the Basanta Shrawan ritual every year.
Educational institutions across the nation organised special programmes on the premises of schools and colleges to mark the occasion.
Shree Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Magh according to the Nepali calendar.
It is believed that from this day, the sun starts moving to the northern hemisphere, causing longer days and signaling the beginning of spring season. Marriage ceremonies and other religious functions are also performed on this day as the day is believed to be auspicious. Legend has it that reciting and listening to verses about goddess Saraswati on this day enriches knowledge.
A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.