Why do we Celebrate Vasant Panchami
Word ‘Basant’ means Spring. An important Indian festival, Basant Panchami, Vasant Panchami or Shree Panchami, is associated with the season of Spring. Spring is crowned as the king of all seasons. It falls in the Indian month of Maagh (January-February). Just like Makar Sankranti, this festival also marks the closure of Winter when fresh and gentle weather replaces the haunting cold and bid goodbye to the winter blues. This festival specifically represnts the yellow color, and Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom, art, culture and music. That is why this day is also known as Saraswati Puja.
Yellow color and Goddess Saraswati signifies spirituality and therefore people wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers to God, prepare yellow dishes, and worship Goddess Saraswati for enlightment in the life. This festival is also known as festival of kites. On this day many fairs are organized and people fly kites to celebrate.
The significance of this day is mainly associated with Goddess Saraswati. Basant Panchami believed to be the birthday of Goddess Saraswati. She has four hands which symbolize ego, intellect, alertness and the mind. She also has a lotus and scriptures in two of her hands while other two hands play music on the Veena (a musical instrument ). She rides on a white swan and wears white dress. As per tradition, temples dedicated to Goddess Saraswati are worshipped with sacred offerings. Saraswati’s favorite color is white, so people dress up in the white costume while doing the Saraswati Puja. It is especially celebrated in the schools and colleges. Students observe the blessings from Maa Saraswati. Pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess Devi’s feet to be blessed before they are used by students.
Yellow color, also known as the ‘Basanti’ colour, dominates this day which symbolizes prosperity, light, energy and optimism. The significance of yellow color is taken from the sprawling yellow mustard crop fields in the villages during this month as the yellow mustard flowers bloom at this time of the year.. Mustard is considered very auspicious crop.This is the reason why people wear yellow clothes and make traditional yellow foods. Some popular yellow delicacies are kesar halwa, boondi ke ladoo, sweet rice, kheer, malpua and boondi, maake ki roti and sarso ka saag.
This festival is considered very auspicious for children as they are taught to write their first word on this day as a beginning of learning. Renowned Indian educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya started a trend to inaugurate new schools, colleges, and other academic institutions.
It also announces the soon to be arrived another big springtime event – Holi, the festival of colors. On the day of Basant Panchami Holika (a log) is placed in a public place for the next 40 days. People add twigs and other flammable material to form a pyre which is lit on the occassion of Holi.
On this day, you can start any good work such as wedding, or buying new things.
Snakes are fed with milk on Basant Panchami to bring wealth and prosperity in the coming days. People also feed Brahmans with the feeling that their ancestors are accepting the food. Kite-flying has become the part of this festival and people really enjoy this event.
According to the old books, the origins of this festival is also associated with Aryans and Aryan period. Aryans came to India crossing the Saraswati River, they also settled along the banks of the River Saraswati. Thus, River Saraswati was associated with this day.
Another mythological reference is associated with poet Kalidasa. He was rejected by a beautiful princess after marriage due to his foolishness, Kalidasa went to commit suicide, however there Goddess Saraswati emerged from the waters and blessed him with knowledge.