Basant Panchami, also known as Vasant Panchami or Shri Panchami, is one of the most vibrant festivals in India. The auspicious day is celebrated on the first day of spring, which is the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magha. This year, the festival will be celebrated on Wednesday (February 14). Central to the observance of Basant Panchami is the worship of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, arts and wisdom. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Saraswati as per the tradition on this day leads you towards a bright future. With her grace, you are blessed with progress and knowledge in your life.
Basant Panchami rituals
The Basant Panchami celebrations hold religious significance for the Hindu community. On this day, people prepare traditional food items to mark the celebration. The delicacies that are common in most parts of the country include kheer, kesar pista, Kanchipuram, idli and sweet rice. Several parts of the country also observe the day by flying kites, which indicates the arrival of spring and the beginning of the joyful and playful season.
On Basant Panchami, Devi Saraswati, the goddess of learning and arts, is also worshipped. People who perform a Saraswati Puja at home usually wake up early on this particular day, have a shower and wear sarees or other clothes in shades of yellow or white. Students often fast for a few hours till the pushpanjali or offerings to Goddess Saraswati. Homes are decorated with bright marigold flowers and alpana (rangoli) is done with a paste of rice flour and water. After puja and offerings, the sweets and fruits are distributed among family members and friends in the neighbourhood.
Importance of wearing yellow on Basant Panchami
Basant Panchami is marked at a time when bright yellow flowers dominate rural India. Marigolds or ‘genda’, ‘sheuli’ or night jasmine, yellow Hyacinth, yellow lilies and Forsythia shrubs are among the many yellow spring flowers in the country. This is the main reason for yellow being the dominant colour of Basant Panchami and as the name suggests ‘Basant’ refers to the spring season.
On this day, people wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers to the Goddess and put a yellow, turmeric tilak on their forehead. Saraswati idols are also decorated with yellow flowers and sarees of the same colour on this day. Even the offerings to Goddess Saraswati are usually yellow.
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