“Vasant Panchami” or “Basant Panchami” is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly in central and northern parts of India. It marks the onset of spring season and is celebrated in the Hindu calendar month of “Magha”, usually falling in January end or early February as per the Gregorian calendar.
“Vasant Panchami” is a very auspicious festival for Hindus, invoking the sense of religiousness and also gratitude towards revered Gods/Goddess and nature for providing sustenance, livelihood, wisdom, love etc. Like many other Hindu festivals, “Basant Panchami” is also celebrated vibrantly by all the Hindu communities.
What Does “Vasant/Basant Panchami” Mean?
In Hindi the season of spring is referred to as Vasant or Basant. Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of “Basant” ritu; hence it is called “Basant Panchami”.
Vasant/Basant means spring and Panchami translates to the 5th day, so Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the 5th day of the bright half of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in late January or February according to Gregorian Calendar. The festival date may vary according to the moon.Another legend behind Vasant Panchami is based on the Hindu God of love, Kama and Lord Shiva. It is believed that Goddess Parvati approached God Kama to wake Shiva from his Yogic meditation so that he could fulfill his earthly duties. Kama agreed and shot an arrow made of flowers and bees from his bow made of sugarcane. This initiative is celebrated by Hindus as Vasant Panchami.
God/Goddess Worshipped on Basant Panchami
The best time to tie rakhi is said to be during Aparahna , which is normally during the afternoon period. However, if that is not possible then it can be tied during the Pradosh time period (starts at sunset and lasts upto 96 minutes after that).However, the scriptures say that tying the rakhi should not take place during the Bhadra phase (late evening and early morning- it differs from time to time) of the day since it is believed that during the Bhadra time, certain negative energies are at play.
Traditions and Rituals
People consider Basant Panchami as an auspicious day to begin good work. In India, the festival is celebrated mostly in northern states of Punjab and Bihar, where people celebrate it as a festival of kites. In Rajasthan, people wear jasmine garlands on the day of the festival. Although there is no special time to perform Saraswati Puja on Basant Panchami day, most of the people perform Saraswati Puja during Purvahna Kala - the time between the sunrise and the midday. During Saraswati Puja, the goddess is dressed in yellow and flowers and sweets of the same color are offered to her.
“VASANT PANCHAMI” – A Harvest Festival
The festival of “Vasant Panchami” is celebrated as a harvest festival in the western state of Punjab and eastern Bihar. On the arrival of Vasant mustard plants could be seen blooming with yellow flowers throughout Punjab and other states. Along with mustard, Vasant Panchami also marks the harvest season of wheat crop usually in the eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and central India.
Therefore, apart from being a festival to worship Goddess Saraswati, “Vasant Panchami” is also a festival which celebrates new harvest and is important for farmers also.
How to Celebrate “VASANT PANCHAMI”?
“Vasant Panchami” is an ancient Hindu festival the origins of which could be traced back to thousands of years back and is a reflection of Hindu customs and beliefs. It is a vibrantly celebrated by the young girls and boys, men, women, and elders of the society. The festival of “Vasant Panchami” provides loads of opportunities for you to get involved in to the celebrations. For your convenience, some activities which could be taken up on Basant Panchami are provided below-
1). Teach the Children
3). Wear Yellow
4). Distribute Stationeries
VASANT PANCHAMI – As A Festival Of Love
According to a Hindu mythological belief “Vasant Panchami” is celebrated as the day when Lord Shiva came back from a state of meditation, to his wife Parvati and also to take cognizance of earthly matters after being struck by arrow of Kamadeva – the God of love. Therefore, some Indian states celebrate “Vasant Panchami” as the festival of love and affection.
Like in Kutch (Gujarat) where people prepare bouquet of flowers, decorated with mango leaves and present them to their loved ones. They wear yellow or saffron clothes and visit relatives and friends and sing songs of Krishna and Radha. In some parts of Uttar Pradesh, and central India, people also worship Shiva and Parvati and hope to bring same love in their own lives.Newly married couples in the central state of Maharashtra visit temples and offer prayers on their first Vasant Panchami, asking for a fulfilling relationship.