Vasant Panchami Information In English 2017

Birthday of Goddess Saraswati - Basant Panchami in India 2017


Vasant Panchami (also called Basant Panchami) refers to the following festivals: the religious Hindu festival of Saraswati Puja also called Shree Panchami; Sufi Basant observed in Sufi shrines; the seasonal spring festival of Vasant Panchami observed in many regions; the Basant Festival of Kites of the Punjab region; observance in Gurdwaras as a Sikh festival; the birthday of the Deo-Sun God in Bihar and a harvest festival. The festivals are celebrated on the fifth day of Magha.



When is Vasant Panchami?

Vasant Panchami, also known as Basant Panchami, Saraswati Puja, Shree Panchami, or the Basant Festival of Kites is a Sikh and Hindu festival held on the fifth day of Magha (usually early February).

In 2017, Vasant Panchami is a public holiday in the following regions: Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Tripura, West Bengal.

The festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art and culture.

A popular legend associated with Vasant Panchami is a story about a poet called Kalidasa. Kalidasa had somehow ended up marrying a beautiful princess, who kicked him out when she realised he was foolish.

In despair, Kalidasa was planning to kill himself when Saraswati emerged from the river and told him to bathe in the waters. When he did, the water gave him wisdom and led to him writing poetry.

Vasant Panchami
Vasant Panchami 2017

Religious festival

In ancient Indian literature, Vasant Panchami is associated with Shringara Rasam and the festival was celebrated in this tradition.Celebrations today still honor Kamadeva, his wife Rati, and his friend Vasant (the personification of Spring).

During the ancient period when Vasant Panchami was more oriented toward Kamadeva, dancing girls, dhol players, and other celebrants would come to the royal Bakshi's palace to create an informal durbar with the royals. Specially made Vasanti clothes would be worn by the dancing girls and younger royal ladies, consisting of a skirt, blouse, and pink or saffron sari with tiny red square or circular dots. This clothing would be further embellished with gold and silver borders and brocade work. On the celebration day the dancing girls would collect flowers and mango leaves from the garden of the Bakshi's palace. The flowers and mangoes were arranged in brass vessels and the informal durbar would be set up. The occasion was marked by the singing of various ragas usually on the theme of love (especially songs involving Krishna and Radha or the gopies of Brij Bhoomi). At the conclusion of the celebration, the flowers would be sprinkled with red gulal and the dancing girls would apply it to their cheeks. They were then gifted a sum of money by the royal ladies. Today this is not practiced, and the festival is oriented toward Sarasvati, however Kamadeva remains an important figure as feasts are held in his honor during Vasant Panchami, and the theme of love remains an important part of the festival with this being the most popular day of the year for weddings in some areas.



Goddess Saraswati

Goddess Saraswati is the goddess of learning, wisdom, knowledge, fine arts, refinement, science and technology. Vasant Panchami is treated by celebrants as Saraswati's birthday. People worship Goddess Saraswati to attain enlightenment through knowledge and to rid themselves of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance.

The story of Saraswati Puja is related to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. Sri Krishna granted Saraswati a boon that she too will be worshipped on Vasant Panchami. After performing morning ablutions and bathing, a Kalasha is established. After worshipping Ganesh, the Sun, Vishnu and Shiva, Saraswati is worshipped. Thereafter, coloured powder is thrown into the air. This is the general form of observance of praying to Goddess Saraswati on Vasant Panchami. In places such as Uttar Pradesh, prayers are offered to Goddess Saraswati and people sing religious verses to celebrate the festival. Interestingly, in Tamil Nadu and South India Saraswati is worshipped on the ninth day of navratri in the month of ashwin.

Vasant Panchami
Vasant Panchami 2017

Saraswati Puja

In Nepal, Bihar and eastern India, a distinct festival in honour of Saraswati is celebrated. The festival is known as Saraswati Puja in eastern parts of India, and as Sri Panchami in parts of Andhra pradesh Bengal. In Bengal and eastern India, the primary focus of the day is to honour Saraswati.

Traditions of Saraswati Puja

The day before Vasant Panchami in Nepal, Saraswati's temples are filled with food so that she can join the celebrants in the traditional feasting the following morning. In temples and educational institutions, statues of Saraswati are dressed in yellow and worshiped. Most educational institutions arrange special prayers or pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the Goddess. Poetic and musical gatherings are held and children are initiated to learn the alphabet and are often taught to write their first words. This ritual of initiating education to children is known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham/Praasana, one of the famous rituals of Vasant Panchami. Older students clean their pens and inkwells but abstain from reading or writing on this day.In Bengal, idols of Saraswati are taken on procession and immersed in the holy Ganga.

The color yellow plays an important role in Vasant Panchami as it is related to the bloom of mustard flowers during this period. Celebrants usually wear yellow garments,Saraswati is worshiped in a yellow dress,and sweet saffron rice and yellow sweets are consumed within the families.

The Foundation of Education

The most significant aspect of Vasant Panchami is that it is also the most auspicious day to begin laying one’s foundations of education – of how to read and write. Pre-school children are given their first lesson in reading and writing on this day. All Hindu educational institutions conduct special prayer for Saraswati on this day. It is also a great day to inaugurate training institutes and new schools – a trend made famous by the renowned Indian educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946), who founded the Banaras Hindu University on Vasant Panchami day in 1916.


The beautiful human form of Saraswati comes to the fore in this English translation of the Saraswati hymn

"May Goddess Saraswati,
who is fair like the jasmine-colored moon,
and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops;
who is adorned in radiant white attire,
on whose beautiful arm rests the veena,
and whose throne is a white lotus;
who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me.
May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance."




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