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Basant Panchami: The Festival of Knowledge, Wisdom & Love

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 03, Feb 2021, 8:48 am IST | UPDATED: 03, Feb 2021, 10:27 am IST

Basant Panchami: The Festival of Knowledge, Wisdom & Love

In India, festivals are all about togetherness and harmony. In fact, the fun and frolic of the occasion is simply incomplete without good food and happiness. With the onset of the spring season, it’s time to celebrate the festival of Basant Panchami. Predominantly, celebrated in eastern parts of India as Saraswati Puja, particularly in West Bengal and Bihar. However, in North India, especially in Punjab, Basant Panchami is celebrated as a festival of kites whereas in Rajasthan wearing jasmine garland to celebrate this festival is a part of the rituals.

Also, according to Hindu Panchami marks the beginning of the spring season. As per the Hindu calendar, it falls on the fifth day of the Magha maas(month). According to the Hindu Mythology, it is believed that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day. Apart from that, the reason why Saraswati Puja is celebrated in some parts of the country is because it was believed that on this day Goddess Saraswati was born to Goddess Durga.

Stories Behind Basant Panchami

According to the popular belief, the origins of this festival lie in Aryan period. Aryans came and settled in India through Khyber Pass, crossing the Saraswati River among many others. Being a primitive civilization, most of their development took place along the banks of the River Saraswati. Thus, River Saraswati began to be associated with fertility and knowledge. It is then that the day began to be celebrated.

According to mythology, a popular associated with this day is connected with poet Kalidasa. After he was married off to a beautiful princess through trickery, the princess kicked him out of her bed as she learned that he was foolish. Following this, Kalidasa went to commit suicide, upon which Saraswati emerged from the waters and asked him to take a dip there. After taking a dip in the holy waters, Kalidasa became knowledgeable and began writing poetry. Thus, Basant Panchami is celebrated to venerate Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of education and learning.

History

There is an interesting history behind the reason for why we celebrate Basant Panchami. As per a popular belief, goddess Saraswati, who is said to be the deity of learning, music and art was born on this day and people worship her to achieve wisdom. Hence people are often seen celebrating Saraswati Puja on Basant Panchami.

Celebrated In Educational Intuitions

This festival is also celebrated in educational institutes like schools and colleges. It is said that Goddess Saraswati can bestow on her devotees lots of wisdom, learning and knowledge as the goddess is considered to be an epitome of wisdom. Students and teachers wear new clothes, offer prayers to the goddess of knowledge and various programs of song and dance are organised to please the goddess.

Another tradition associated with this day is that of initiating studies in the young. Young children often begin learning on this day, which is believed to be the reason why the school sessions start in the month of March. Sweets with a yellow hue are also distributed on this day and people can also be seen donating books and other literary material to the poor.

The Significance

The significance of Basant Panchami is big in Hindu culture. The day is considered extremely auspicious to start new work, get married or perform house warming ceremony (griha pravesh).

Importance Of Yellow Color

The colour yellow has a great significance in the celebration of Vasant Panchami as it marks the harvest time of mustard crop that has yellow blooms, which is Goddess Saraswati’s favourite colour. Yellow attire is therefore worn by the followers of Saraswati. Moreover, traditional feast is prepared for the festival wherein the dishes are usually yellow and saffron in color.

Food Offered

The color of Basant is yellow which symbolizes peace, prosperity, light, energy and optimism. This is why people wear yellow clothes and make traditional delicacies in yellow hues. In Bengal and Bihar, Goddess Saraswati is offered boondi and ladoo. Sweet rice with saffron and dry fruits is made in almost every house on this occasion. Mango wood, shriphal (coconut), Ganga water, and baer are also offered, particularly by Bengalis. Traditionally, in Punjab, Maake ki Roti and Sarso Ka Saag are savoured. In Bihar, people celebrate Saraswati Puja by offering delicacies like Kheer, Malpua and Bundi to the Goddess. Like all festivals, it is marked by many traditional delicacies, like khichuri, mixed vegetables, kesar halwa, kesari bhaat, payesh, begun bhaja, sondesh and rajbhog are served as a bhog on this special day. On Murti Visthapan day, big processions are held. The idols of Maa Saraswati are immersed in the holy water of river Ganga with serenity. This the day is celebrated by savouring Dahi Chura along with gur and banana.

When is Basant Panchami in 2021

Basant Panchami in 2021 is on the Tuesday, 16th of Feb (2/16/2021).
Basant Panchami is on the 47th day of 2021.