asant Panchami marks the onset of spring. Considered as an auspicious day, the festival celebrated in different states of India, according to the Hindu calendar and falls on the fifth day (Panchami) of the Hindu month of Magha. There are many interesting stories associated with Basant Panchami celebrations.
According to popular belief, goddess Saraswati – the deity of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology – was born on this day and people worship her to achieve wisdom. One popular folklore that’s associated with the festival is that of the legendary poet Kalidasa. As per the story, Kalidasa was a simpleton and was tricked into marrying a princess who didn’t respect him. A dejected Kalidasa tried to take his life but just before he could commit suicide, the goddess Saraswati appeared in front of him and asked him to take a dip in the river. The man did as he was told, and emerged from the water an intelligent, knowledgeable and cultured person, who would eventually become a renowned poet. Which is why on this day, the goddess is worshipped so that she may bestow the gift of knowledge to her devotees.
It is also believed that people worship her on this day because Saraswati was granted a boon by Lord Krishna.
The love connection
But there are many other stories related to Basant Panchami as well. The second one is linked to Shringara Rasam, which is all about love, attraction and beauty. According to mythology, Kamdeva had been turned to ashes by Lord Shiva for his misdeeds, and his wife Rati went through an arduous 40 days of penance to bring her husband back. On the day of Basant Panchami, Shiva finally relented and brought Kamdeva back to life. Which is why Kamadeva, the god of love and desire, is worshipped along with his wife Rati on this day. In celebration, women would dance and musicians would play the dhol, while singing different ragas based on the theme of love, showering red gulal – indicating the onset of Holi soon – and flowers at the end of the celebration.
Yet another legend elucidates the observation of this festival since the Aryan era. It is believed that the Aryans travelled through Khyber Pass and crossed the Saraswati River to reach India. When they settled in, the Saraswati River became an important source of life for them, so the celebration became a routine.
This day is also considered as an auspicious day to begin work. Interestingly, the colour yellow holds great significance during Basant Panchami as it is associated with the colour of mustard flowers that bloom during this season, so wearing yellow is also encouraged. It is also considered very auspicious to get married or perform house warming ceremony (griha pravesh) on the day of Basant Panchami.