MISSISSAUGA: It is said that Bengalis celebrate 13 festivals in 12 months. With such abundance of festivities, it comes as no surprise that there’s one exclusively dedicated for students!
Commonly called “Saraswati Puja” in Bengali parlance, it is a religious occasion devoted to the workshop of the goddess of learning, arts and music.
Purbayan is a non-profit cultural organization for the Bengali diaspora in Mississauga and has been celebrating Saraswati Puja for the last few years.
This is their fifth year. This year, the puja was held on the 20th of January at the Woodlands School in Mississauga.
“The villages of Bengal” was the theme of the event and you could see it in the puja decorations, the traditional saree worn by the women in a particular “villager” style.
The puja ceremony included about a dozen toddler, aged two to four years, writing their first words infront the goddess of learning – which is considered to be one of the most important first milestones occasions of a person’s life in Bengali culture.
Lunch was served to all attendees, numbering more than 400 community members who had taken advantage of the slightly better weekend weather and graced the occasion.
Next on the agenda was the cultural programs which was centered around honoring female power – a 93-year old lady from the community was felicitated for her contribution to the cultural scene of GTA. Her words of wisdom and songing with a soulful voice regaled the audience and got the program underway.
This was followed by solo and group performances from members of the community. The most prominent performance of the evening has to be Rabindranath Tagore’s “Srimati”. The dance drama was participated by 40 kids of GTA and was spectacular to say the least.
Different vendors had set up their stalls of savoury snacks, traditional garments, fashionable costume jewlery, etc. which added to the pomp and celebration. All in all a very successful Saraswati puja event that brought a large section of the community together and celebrated an important socio-cultural event on the Bengali calendar.
ATN network, Snapd and Zee TV Canada were present to cover the event.