Another excuse to close the office
January 31 is Sree Panchami, the day to honour Sri Saraswati, goddess of learning and wisdom. (Last year it was February 8.)
Wear yellow and bring yellow flowers to the Saraswati shrine (if you need one, you can borrow one of mine...they are all over Kathmandu.) It's considered the most auspicious day to begin learning anything, especially to read or write a new language.
The following prayer is recited on this day:Yaa Kundendu tushaara haaradhavalaa, Yaa shubhravastraavritha|
veenavara dandamanditakara, Yaa shwetha padmaasana||
Yaa brahmaachyutha shankara prabhritibhir Devaisadaa Vanditha|
Saa Maam Paatu Saraswatee Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa||
"May Goddess Saraswati,
and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops;
who is adorned in radiant white attire,
on whose beautiful arm rests the veena,
and whose throne is a white lotus;
who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me.
May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance."
Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts, represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness.
--Saraswati painting courtesy Exotic India.
In the western pantheon (we actually do have one), she would be Athena, goddess of learning and wisdom; though Athena is also equated with war, which both Lisa Simpson and Saraswati would emphatically disown.
And I have heard that the Tibetan version of Saraswati is Tsering-Ma.