Vasant Panchami, also spelled Basant Panchami, is a major festival that’s celebrated across India to mark the beginning of Spring. It also makes the beginning of any and all preparations for Holi, also known as Holika. This year, Basant Panchami will be celebrated on the 16th January 2021. The Vasant Utsava on Panchami is generally celebrated on the 40th day before spring as most season’s transition to the next season in 40 days. The season generally comes to full bloom after that.
Basant Panchami is a festival marking the beginning of spring in India and is celebrated by the entire country. The festival is on the fifth day of Magha, a Hindu month, according to the calendar of the Hindus. This is said to be a very auspicious day as believers worship the Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and Wisdom. Usually, devotees celebrate by fasting on the festival day. Basant Panchami symbolizes the beginning of spring because the sun's warmth is at its peak on the festival day. People celebrating the festival wear yellow on the day. Basant Panchami 2021 will be celebrated on Wednesday, 16th January, 2021.
History of the Festival
According to a very popular belief, the festival originates from the period of the Aryans. They came and settled in the country through the Khyber Pass, crossing the famous Saraswati River and more. They were a primitive civilization and most of their society's developments took place beside the Saraswati River, along its banks. Thus, the river started becoming associated with knowledge and fertility. This became the day that people celebrated Basant Panchami every year.
Based on very popular mythology, the day is connected to the famous poet Kalidasa. Through trickery, he was made to marry an extremely beautiful princess and she kicked him out of the bed when she learned that he was not smart. After this incident took place, he went to the river to end it all. At that very moment, Saraswati emerged from the currents and asked him to take a dip in the waters. After he did that in the holy waters, he became a person with so much knowledge that he began writing poetry. Thus, the festival is celebrated to worship Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and education. Nowadays, the day is celebrated by farmers to cherish the spring season.
The festival marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring. People wear yellow dresses while participating in the festival. This colour holds a special meaning as it signifies the vibrancy of life and brilliance of nature. The entire region bursts with yellow colour as people also offer yellow flowers to the temples. Feasts would be prepared along with unique dishes like Kesar halva. The crops of India are filled with blooming yellow mustard flowers. Students also place notebooks, pencils, and pens at the Goddess' feet to be blessed.
Various Places that Celebrate the Festival
Many states of India celebrate Basant Panchami, and a few of them have their unique ways.
- In the states of Bihar, Odisha, and Assam, people visit the temples to worship Goddess Saraswati and many rituals take place during this time. Every educational institution would be closed on this day, but they open for Puja and later have cultural programs.
- Andhra Pradesh of South India celebrates this day as well. In this state, it is known as Sri Panchami. Here, the Goddess is referred to as "Sri."
- In Gujarat, the West Indian state, the festival is associated with love, emotions, and emotional anticipation. Garlands of flowers with mango leaves and bouquets are made to be gifted to people. Traditional songs of Lord Krishna are also sung or played on the Basant Panchami date.
- It is mandatory for people in Rajasthan to wear garlands made from fresh jasmine flowers. The homes are adorned with yellow flowers, and everybody wears yellow clothes.
- In Punjab, adults and children engage in flying kites on the festival day. This tradition is also observed in all the other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh.
- In Maharashtra, newlywed couples wear yellow clothes and visit the temple to pray during their first Basant Panchami after marriage.
- In the Aurangabad district of Bihar, the statues of the Sun God Temple are washed, and the clothes are replaced with new ones every year. People engage in dancing, singing, and playing various musical instruments.
- The people of Uttarakhand worship Lord Shiva and Parvati along with Goddess Saraswati on the festival day.
- The Hindus of Indonesia and Bali call this festival as "Hari Raya Saraswati." Most of the schools and colleges would be closed, and they wear bright clothes for the celebration.
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