Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) Goddess Saraswati, considered the deity of music, culture and learning, was worshiped across the city Friday, with women clad in traditional yellow saris offering flowers, children participating in cultural programmes and families sharing 'prasad'.
Clay idols of the goddess were seen with a crescent moon on the brow, riding a swan or seated on a lotus flower with flowers, fruits and sweets placed as offerings before it.
The rituals started early morning and lasted till midday in schools, colleges, community clubs and households, with priests chanting mantras and devotees placing seasonal palash flowers at the deity's feet to the ringing sounds of cymbals and conch shells.
Women and girls were decked up in saris in various shades of yellow signifying Basant Panchami, heralding the arrival of spring.
People from all age groups also had generous amounts of the customary 'khichdi' -- a mixture of rice and lentils -- accompanied with dollops of sweet chutney.
Traditionally the day is a no-study affair for students who are happy to give their textbooks a miss to participate in functions organised by their educational institutes.
To receive the goddess's blessings, students also placed their books, pens and musical instruments beside the idol for the entire day.
Students also sang Tagore's songs with harmonium and 'tanpura' playing in the background.