About Vasant Panchami
Vasant Panchami is the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. Vasant Panchami also spelt as Basant Panchami occupies a unique position among the festivals of India. The commencement of Spring renders freshness and a new lease of life to the surroundings. It sweetens the environment and sets in an air of intoxicating enchantment. Trees and plants shed their old leaves and don new ones during the month of Basant. Nature puts on its most beautiful form during this phase. As Vasant Panchami marks the arrival of Vasant, so this festival is bound to spark the imagination of poets, thinkers, nature lovers and the people at large.
On this day people wear yellow clothes, kites and eat sweet yellow rice. Yellow is considered a symbol of spring. The seasoned season is considered to be big in all seasons. In this season there is neither scorching sun nor cold nor rain, fresh fruit and flowers blossom on trees in the spring.
On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art and culture. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati along with God Kama are also worshipped on this festival. Goddess Sharda is also worshipped on this day.
When it is celebrated
Vasant Panchami festival is usually celebrated in Magh, which is between the months of January and February in Gregorian calendar. The festival date may vary according to the moon.
The significance of Vasant Panchami is big in Hindu culture. The day is considered extremely auspicious to start new work, get married or perform house warming ceremony. In fact, it is considered such an auspicious day that one can get ceremonies done without referring to any muhurat.
Many of those following Hinduism dedicate Vasant Panchami to Goddess Saraswati who is considered the goddess of knowledge, language, music and all forms of art. The significance of Vasant Panchami is that the festival marks the harvest time of mustard crop that has yellow blooms, which Hindus associate with Saraswati’s favourite colour. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati along with God Kama are also worshipped on this festival. Goddess Sharda is also worshipped on this day.
Rituals and Celebrations
Kite flying is a popular custom associated with this festival. Flying kites on this day signifies freedom and enjoyment. Kite flying is an important tradition in several North Indian states, as well as in Pakistan on the occasion Vasant Panchami.
Also, wearing yellow clothes, serving food yellow in colour is also part of the tradition. The color yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life. The whole place bursts with yellow during the festival. People dress in yellow and they offer yellow flowers to others and to the gods and goddesses. They also prepare and feast on a special pastry called kesar halwa or kesar halva.
Sweets with a yellow hue are also distributed on this day and people can also be seen donating books and other literary material to the poor.
This festival is also celebrated in educational institutes like schools and colleges. On this day Goddess Saraswati is also worshipped, It is said that Goddess Saraswati can bestow on her devotees lots of wisdom, learning and knowledge as the goddess is considered to be an epitome of wisdom. Students and teachers wear new clothes, offer prayers to the goddess of knowledge and various programs of song and dance are organised to please the goddess.
On Murti Visthapan day, big processions are held. The idols of Maa Saraswati are immersed in the holy water of river Ganga with serenity. This the day is celebrated by savouring Dahi Chura along with gur and banana.
In Bengal and Bihar, Goddess Saraswati is offered boondi and ladoo. Sweet rice with saffron and dry fruits is made in almost every house on this occasion. Mango wood, shriphal, Ganga water, and baer are also offered, particularly by Bengalis.
Traditionally, in Punjab, Maake ki Roti and Sarso Ka Saag are served.
In Bihar, people celebrate Saraswati Puja by offering delicacies like Kheer, Malpua and Bundi to the Goddess.
Like all festivals, it is marked by many traditional delicacies, like khichuri, mixed vegetables, kesar halwa, kesari bhaat, payesh, begun bhaja, sondesh and rajbhog are served as a bhog on this special day.
Vasant Panchami is an optional holiday. Some employees may choose to take the day off on this day, however, most offices and businesses remain open.
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