Saraswati Puja

On Tuesday 4th February (or 21st Magh in the Nepali Calendar) we were up at 6am and at school by 6.55am to worship the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and nature, Saraswati. Our school has its own temple dedicated to her which was decorated the day before. We actually arrived before most of the staff and students and were sitting feeling a bit cold as the sun hadn’t fully risen. Slowly students started to arrive bringing trays filled with flowers, red and yellow powder, incense and lots and lots of fruit. The staff helped to sort through the offerings placing all the fruit together in a big bowl. Some students brought bamboo with them to put on each corner of the temple and some was cut up and put with the fruit. The incense was lit and placed in every nook and cranny and smelled amazing. The pupils then all lined up to walk around the temple anti-clockwise 3 time which ended up turning into a sort of mosh pit. We joined them and as we walked round we threw some of the flowers we had been given towards the temple. We were then given tikkas and water was sprayed over us (the pupils loved this). After everyone was given a spoonful of a sweet syrup to drink and then a handful of the fruit. Surprisingly the bamboo was delicious. It is really sweet and juicy but you have to spit out the fibres at the end – we can see why pandas love it so much! The whole puja (religious ceremony) was over by 9am and we were home by 9.30am having been given the rest of the day off! All in all, another really interesting experience.