Basant Panchami festival ~ festivals of india - local festivals, national festivals, state festivals

Basant Panchami festival

Basant Panchami

Basant or Vasant is the beginning of the season of spring, and it is to welcome the season that the festival of Basant Panchami is observed. Basant Panchami falls on the fifth day, of the bright fortnight, of the Hindu month of Magh (January - February). This festival is enthusiastically celebrated in the northern and eastern parts of India. It is not observed in the South, which has a very short spring, before a long summer and a mild winter, with a long spell of monsoon separating them.

Basant Panchami festival
Basant panchami

Importance

Basant Panchami is one of the few Indian festivals with no story associated with its celebration. It is simply celebrated for the joy the spring season brings, and all the customs and traditions are related to the season and its produce.

Celebration

In Haryana and Punjab, the celebrations are exceptionally grand, since the festival marks the end of winter, which is very severe, and the beginning of the pleasant months of spring. The fields are covered with mustard flowers at this time of the year, and present a beautiful sight. It is as if the ground has been covered with a layer of yellow velvet! Yellow is naturally the color of the season, and people traditionally wear yellow to celebrate the festival. The feast also has a prominent yellow flavor – sweet rice with saffron, which is yellow in color. It is a day of celebration and fun, with the main activity being kite flying, and here too, the color yellow is predominantly visible.

Bengal and the other Eastern states also celebrate Basant Panchami on a grand scale, but in their own distinctive style. Here, the main deity associated with the festival is Mother Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and knowledge. In this celebration too, the color yellow is omnipresent, with Mother Saraswati being dressed in yellow, the people wearing yellow clothes, and even distributing yellow sweets! This is considered an auspicious day for beginning ones education, and children are taught to read and write on this day. Hence, it is even celebrated in schools and colleges. Writing implements and paper are placed at the feet of Mother Saraswati and then taken for use. The influence of Saraswati is not restricted to education alone, but to all branches of learning, even the arts such as music, dance, poetry and literature. People who play musical instruments also pray to the Goddess, placing their instruments at her feet.

Basant Panchami festival
Basant panchami


Basant Panchami is a festival celebrating the season of spring, but it all about thanking nature for all the gifts she has bestowed on us. This is the reason we try to mimic the nature we see all around us as we celebrate this festival.
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