[First published on Friday, February 03, 2006]
Going by two prominent Bengali almanacs (panjika), Saraswati Puja falls on 2 days this year. Today (Feb 3) is second day, being followed by most. A holiday today, it’s convenient too. One gets to enjoy 3 days off. Plus the ambience lingers longer. Not that school-goers have any reason to complain, rather it adds to more merriment.
Delving a bit deep, this clash of which day is the right one is not new. On one hand you’ve scientific calculation based on the positions of the moon and the sun. This is done by none other than the government’s Positional Astronomy Center. According to them, Saraswati Puja falls on Feb 2. The popular almanac, Bisudhha Sidhhanta Panjika, too agrees.
The other almanac by Gupta Press claims the puja must be on Feb 3. Their calculation is based on the old way of simply adding on time which may be at variance with actual positions of the moon and the sun. Curiously, the local government run by Marxists prefers Gupta Press’ ‘non-scientific’ analysis.
Coming to think of it, community pujas now-a-days are more of social enjoyment and extended merry-making than any serious soul-searching. That being so, change in auspicious time doesn’t ruffle many a feather.
Usually, Saraswati Puja marks end of year’s festivities. Do we have to wait one more year for the next round? Not really. The next round starts barely 8 months hence. Another almanac problem? May be. Meanwhile, let’s look forward to the next round of merry-making.