International Journal of Indic Religions


In this article, I use ethnographic method to study a Bengali religious festival, Saraswati Puja, as celebrated in the United States. I contend that Bengali Indian Americans chose to celebrate this festival because of its symbolic significance; goddess Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. I analyze how this religious celebration satisfies Bengali Indian Americans’ nostalgic yearnings while becoming a means to transfer their culture and tradition to second generation Indian Americans. I look at how different activities within the religious frame blur the boundaries between the religious and the secular. I also examine how this one-day event reflects their strong desire to maintain their tradition while simultaneously challenging it.