Post vax, teens party at Saraswati Puja | Kolkata News

Kolkata: After a year-long hiatus due to Covid restrictions, educational institutions opened for Saraswati Puja darshan on Saturday. Now that the 15-17 year olds have started getting vaccinated, the youngsters have become more confident and, in festive attire, have enjoyed the party.
Keith, a physics student, said: “Since 2019 I have taken on the responsibility of reciting mantras for our puja at home. It was nice to be able to hold a larger gathering this year.
Supratim Sarkar, a researcher at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, expressed his joy at seeing so many of his former classmates. “Most of my colleagues wore yellow sarees and Punjabis. After work, I too got dressed, took my camera and went to meet old friends on College Street, near our college campuses and hostels. Many people are in a particularly festive mood because they missed this opportunity last year and missed the tradition of dressing up, attending puja and going out with friends,” a- he declared.
Prithu Haldar, a former student of English at Jadavpur University, said Saraswati Puja has changing implications for young people in Kolkata.
“We often consider Saraswati Puja to be synonymous with Bengali Valentine’s Day, but historically Saraswati Puja strictly symbolized the celebration of knowledge and was commemorated in pathshalas. I believe that liberalization in the 1990s and the subsequent wave of Westernization-inspired commercialism helped cement a romantic angle to Saraswati Puja, especially since it is often celebrated about a week before Valentine’s Day. These days, due to Covid, most couples are forced to have long distance relationships and celebrate by giving gifts and cards. As a result, the typical hotspots for couples on Saraswati Puja in Kolkata have been frequented by large groups of friends this year,” he said.
A retiree living in Kasba shared his surprise to witness such massive celebrations this year. “I usually spend this time of year with my daughter’s family in Delhi. I did not expect to see such a large community puja with so many participants. I am happy that young people are enjoying it with partners and friends, but I hope everyone will remember to wear masks,” he said.

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