Navarathri festival which is called Dasara in Karnataka and Kali Pooja in Bengal is celebrated as Saraswathy Pooja in the State. During Navarathri days the Divine Mother is worshipped in one or the other of her different manifestations namely Durga, Swaraswathi, Kali etc.The Pooja in connection with Navarathri is known as Bhuvaneswari Pooja which means the worship of “Universal Mother”.
The festival is celebrated in nine days.The last three days are most important. It is called Dugashtami, Mahanavami, and vijayadeshmi and they are considered more sacred than the other days. of Devi worship.It is believed that by offering prayers to Devi during these three days one can attain the full benefits of observing the Navarathri rites for the whole period.
The Goddess Saraswathy is worshipped as the Goddess of learning the deity of Gayathri, the fountain of fine arts and science and the symbol of supreme vedantic knowledge. The important of Ayudha Pooja (the worship of implements) on this occasion may be due to the fact that on the Vijayadeshmi day Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Vani tree in order to lead a life disguise for the promised period of exile.
It is believed that one who begins or resumes his learning to work in the Vijayadasami day will secure a grand success as Arjuna did in Kurushetra War.
In the evening of Durgashtami day a ceremony called “Poojavaipu” is performed. In a village generally it is done only in certain house holds like the Brahmins who have a reputation for learning in temples and also some times in the village schools.The members of other houses in the village attend the ceremony performed in these houses or in institutions.
In front of the image of the Goddess Saraswathy books and holy books are kept.Then weapons and implements are kept by the side of this books. A pooja is performed to Saraswathy during which fruits, beaten rice, roasted paddy, jaggery etc are offered to her after which they are distributed among that present.The following day the Mahanavami, is a day totally devoted to the worship of Saraswathy.
On the Vijayadesami day after a pooja in the morning , the books and implements are removed from the room and this ceremony is called “Poojaeduppu”. The time for the break up of the pooja marks the beginning of learning and work and this moment is considered auspicious.
Some members of these household write alphabets on sand, particularly the children and do some work using their implements. According to custom it is only after this ceremony that the children are entitled to read and write.