Vasant Panchami – The Festival of Saraswati Puja
Vasant Panchami the word Vasant signifies ‘the spring season, word Panchami specifies the fifth day of the Indian month of Magh. Taken together, Vasant Panchami celebrates the first day of spring.
Vasant Panchami in 2023 is on 26th January, Thursday.
With the blooming of nature after the dormancy of winter, this Utsav is celebrated with great exuberance and festivity.
Vasant Panchami celebration
On this day, Ma Saraswati was dressed in yellow garments and worshipped with yellow flowers and fruits. Yellow color holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life as India’s fields are filled with yellow flowers at this time of the year.
In Bengal, it is called the Saraswati Puja. They worship her with flowers, especially with basaka (Justicia gendarussa), and decorations are made chiefly with ‘Ganda’ (marigold), the yellow-colored flower to represent the season – Vasanta. All ladies attire themselves in yellow and worship her. She is generally represented sitting cross-legged on a lotus or a water-Lilly holding Vina. Her vehicle is a swan in Bengal and peacock in some regions.
Many devotees wore clothes of this color on the day and kept their pens, notebooks, and pencils near the goddess Saraswati’s feet to seek her blessings. Schoolchildren and toddlers, especially, made a beeline in their best dresses especially in yellow color to offer prayers on Saraswati puja. This festival has special significance for the students and they prayed most enthusiastically to her. Young children were taught their first words on this day since it is considered an auspicious day to begin formal education. Pandit Badal Ji blessed all children to have a good education and successful careers in life.
Legend of Vasant Panchami
This day Lord Shiva burnt the God of Love, Cupid of Kamadev. Lord Shiva was lost in Samadhi and to break his Samadhi into impassion him to beget a son powerful enough to kill the demon Tarakasur, Gods send Cupid the God of Love. Cupid or Kamadev discharges an arrow at Lord Shiva from behind a tree. But, Shiva gets terribly angry and reduces Cupid or Kamadev to ashes with his third eye. The Festival of Vasant Panchami is observed on a grand scale in Punjab and the North when the mustard crop is ripe. They cook yellow rice and also wear yellow garments.
According to one Basant Panchami story, Lord Brahma was very happy with the creation of the whole world. As a result, he wanted to see the whole world with his own eyes. Therefore, he set out on a journey. When he saw the world, he was disappointed with complete silence. Everyone on planet Earth appeared very lonely. Lord Brahma gave a lot of thought to what he had created, Lord Brahma had an idea. He took some water in his Kamandal and sprinkled it in the air. An angel appeared from a tree. The angel had a harp in her hand. Lord Brahma requested her to play something so that everything on Earth was not silent. As a result, the angel started playing some music. The angel blessed the people of the Earth with voice. She also filled this planet with music. Since then, that angel came to be known as Goddess Saraswati, Goddess of speech and knowledge. She is also known as Veena Vadini (harp player). It is believed that Goddess Saraswati provided voice, intelligence, force, and glory.
According to another story, God Rama ate half tasted grapes of Mata Shabari. So as to commemorate, the festival of Basant Panchami is celebrated. The day is considered as the beginning of life. This day is the day of the arrival of happiness. The season of spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. In this season, fields of yellow mustard charm everyone’s heart. Colorful flowers start blooming.
The day of Basant Panchami is celebrated as the welcoming of colors and happiness. Like Markar Sankranti, Kite flying is a popular custom associated with this festival. Flying kites on this day signifies freedom and enjoyment.