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Home > Religious Festivals > Hindu Festivals > Vasant Panchami
Vasant Panchami
Vasant PanchamiThis day is observed in honour of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, art and music. Magh Sud 5 (5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magh [January to February] is the day of Vasant Panchami. It is considered Goddess Saraswati’s birthday.

Vasanta means the spring. The fields are mustard yellow with the ripening of crops. Yellow is an auspicious color - a color of spirituality. Vasant is the season when nature is at its beautiful and bountiful best.

Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma. She is the personification of knowledge - arts, science and crafts. She represents Shakti(Power), creativity and inspiration. She is generally, represented sitting cross-legged on a white or pink lotus or a water-lily holding Veena. Swan is considered to be Her vehicle, in Bengal and in some other regions it is peacock. The white swan of Saraswati symbolizes Sattwa Guna (purity and discrimination). Saraswati has four hands and they represent four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She plays "Veena", an Indian string musical instrument with two hands and holds aksamala (rosary) and Pustaka (book) in each of the other two. Saraswati is extolled by the Gandharvas, worshipped by both Devas and Asuras and adored by Munis and Rishis. She is the embodiment of universal knowledge. She is known by various names. Vinapani (due to holding the Vina), Sharada (giver of essence), Vagisvari (mistress of speech), Brahmi (wife of Brahma), Mahavidya (supreme knowledge) are few of her names.

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped for spiritual enlightenment, the greatest wealth to man. The goddess is a favorite of religious and spiritual leaders. Hindu folklore puts the Learned on a higher pedestal than even the king. A King is honored within his Kingdom, whereas the Learned is respected everywhere.

The colour yellow is given special importance on Vasant Panchami. On this day, Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped. People prefer to wear yellow clothes on this holy day. Sweetmeats of yellowish hues are distributed among relations and friends. Some people feed Brahmins, some perform Pitri-Tarpan (ancestor worship). Many worship Kamadeva, the god of love on this day.

Vasant PanchamiChildren are taught their first words on this day, as an auspicious beginning to learning. Schools, colleges etc., (places of learning) organise special worship of Saraswati. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya laid the foundations of Kashi Hindu Vishwa Vidyalaya on Vasant Panchami. This has become a world famous top class academic institution.

Goddess Saraswati is quietly worshipped. No important temples are dedicated to her. She is not a deity of communal adoration. An elaborate puja, with sandalwood, ghee, joss sticks, and incense is performed to the sound of shlokas, conch shells, and drums. It is traditional to wear cottons on Vasant Panchami. The lady of the house sets the trend for the festive mood by wearing yellow saree with zari and gotta.

In Punjab, Vasant Panchami is known as Basant Panchami. A ritual not connected to the worship but equally essential to the celebration is that of flying kites on this day. The days leading to the festival represent busy times for Kite makers for the usually clear blue skies tend to be filled with kites of all colors.

In Jaipur, the festival is celebrated in the temple of Sitaramji at Choti Chaupar and continues for three days.

In Bengal, it is called the Saraswati Puja. Hindu temples are full of activities on this day. They worship her with flowers, especially with basaka (Justicia gendarussa), and decorations are made chiefly with `Ganda` (marigold, the yellow coloured flower) to represent the season - Vasanta. All ladies attire themselves in yellow and worship her.

Vasant panchami celebrations are free from boisterous processions and street scenes. However, in Bengal her clay images are taken in procession and are immersed in rivers or tanks.

Saraswati Puja is also performed during the Navaratri or Dussehra.

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