Vasant Panchami (also known as Basant Panchami) is a Hindu festival that falls on the fifth day of the Hindu lunar month of Magha. The day typically falls end of January or beginning of February according to the Gregorian calendar. The word 'Vasant' means Spring and 'Panchmi' denotes the fifth day. It marks the end of Winter and the onset of “Vasant Ritu’ the Spring season.
Celebration of Spring
On Vasant Panchami, the onset of spring is felt in the air. New leaves and blossoms appear in the trees with the promise of new life and hope. Spring means pleasant weather, freedom from chilly winters, hot summer and mushy rains. It is therefore, is considered as the king of all seasons.
On this day, generally, the birth anniversary of goddess Saraswati, (deity of wisdom, art and culture), is celebrated. The colour yellow, also known as the 'Basanti' is Goddess Saraswati’s favourite colour. It symbolizes light, knowledge, energy, prosperity and optimism. The colour marks the harvest of mustard seeds from its yellow blooms, On this day. people wear yellow clothes and make traditional delicacies in yellow and saffron hues.
One Festival, various ways of celebrations:
- In educational institutions, during Saraswati puja, students offer yellow flowers, and put yellow tilak on their forehead. On this day, pre-school children, during Akshar Abhyasam, are given their first reading and writing lesson.
- Also known as Vivah Panchami, In North India, it celebrates the divine marriage of Sri Rama with Goddess Sita. It is considered an auspicious day to start new ventures, marry, occupy a new house (Grihapravesh), or begin a job.
- In Bihar and Bengal, delicacies like Kheer, Malpua and Boondi are offered to the Goddess.
- In Punjab, it is celebrated as the festival of kites, and people savour Meete Chawal, Maake ki Roti and Sarso Ka Saag.
- In Uttar Pradesh, devotees offer prayers to Lord Krishna with offering of kesari bhaat.
Through festivities, Vasant Panchami reminds us never to lose Hope, irrespective of how cold and dark it may be.