Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami refers to the religious Hindu festival of Saraswati Puja or Shree Panchami. It is a seasonal spring festival which is observed in many regions of the India. It is celebrated as Basant Festival of Kites in Punjab region; observed in Gurdwaras as a Sikh festival, the birthday of the Sun God in Bihar and as a harvest festival in many regions. Vasant Panchami indicates the beginning of spring and is celebrated with great joy. In the Hindi language, the word Basant or Vasant'' means ''spring'' and ''Panchami'' means the fifth day. Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Magh month. Purvahna Kala, the time between the sunrise and the midday decides Vasant Panchami day. It is celebrated on the day when Panchami Tithi prevails during Purvahna Kala.
Significance of Vasant Panchmi:
The festival of Vasant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom. According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Saraswati is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. Vasant Panchami is considered as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati. She is the goddess of learning. Hence, students seek the blessings from Saraswati. This ritual of initiating education in the kids is known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham which is one of the rituals of Vasant Panchami.
Legend and Celebrations:
Goddess Saraswati is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, art and wisdom. People worship Goddess Saraswati for enlightenment through knowledge and to remove dullness and ignorance.
The story of Saraswati Puja is related to the Brahma Purana. Lord Krishna granted a boon to Saraswati of being worshiped on Vasant Panchami. After performing morning ablutions, a Kalasha is established. Apart from Saraswati, Lord Ganesh, Sun God, Lord Vishnu, and Shiva are also worshiped by offering flowers and navaidyam. In Uttar Pradesh, prayers are offered to Goddess Saraswati, and people sing religious verses to celebrate the festival. In South India Saraswati is worshiped on the ninth day of Navratri in the month of Ashwin. People dress up in bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities. Yellow color signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life. A special sweet called Kesar halwa which is prepared from flour, sugar, nuts, saffron and cardamom powder. Pens, books, and pencils are placed near the goddess Saraswati’s feet to be blessed before they are used by students.
The Yellow color is associated with Goddess Saraswati and the mustard crops. Saraswati is worshiped with full dedication. On this day, Saraswati is worshiped with full dedication. People feed Brahmans with the belief that their ancestors are accepting the food. Kite-flying has become the part of this festival. Basant Panchami is a festival of religious, seasonal and social significance. It is celebrated with enthusiasm and optimism. Vasant Panchami marks the end of the winter season and beginning of the spring.