Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami is an auspicious festival of the Hindus which is celebrated to mark the preparation for the arrival of spring. The festival is celebrated across India on the fifth day (Panchami Tithi) of the Hindu month of Magha, Shukla Paksha. It is also called Sri Panchami in the South and is dedicated to Saraswati, who is considered as the Goddess of knowledge, music, learning and arts.
On this day, you will find women clad in traditional yellow saris offering flowers, children participating in cultural programs and families sharing prasad.
Clay idols of the goddess with a crescent moon on the brow, riding a swan or seated on a lotus flower with flowers, fruits, and sweets placed as offerings before it can be seen in various Puja Pandal. Customary khichdi (a mixture of rice and lentils) is the traditional prasad for Saraswati Puja.
History of Vasant Panchami
Hindus believe that Lord Brahma created the universe and he wanted to see the universe with his own eyes. That's why Lord Brahma started a journey but he was left disappointed to see the complete silence and loneliness of everyone on planet Earth.
.Lord Brahma then he took some water in his Kamandal and sprinkled it in air. After that an angel with a harp appeared from a tree Lord Brahma requested the angel to play something so that the Earth was not silent. That angel came to be known as Saraswati or Veena Vadini (harp player).
Why we celebrate Basant Panchami/Saraswati Puja?
Significance of Basant Panchami/Saraswati Puja: Known as the king of all seasons, the festival of Basant Panchami celebrate the Spring in all its glory and colours. According to the Hindu mythology, it was on the day of Basant Panchmi that Goddess Saraswati appeared from the ‘kamandal’ of Lord Brahma. It is said that as the creator of the world, Lord Brahma felt that his creation lacked the zest and rhythm of life. There was no happiness and positive energy. He consulted Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. It was in that moment the Goddess Sarawati appeared or was born from Lord Brahma’s ‘kamandal’, the religious legend says. Dressed in all white, Goddess Saraswati infused the positive energy, the knowledge in the world. Hence, in several parts of India, especially Bihar and West Bengal celebrate the festival of Basant Panchami with praying to Goddess Saraswati. From many schools to other educational institutions, Saraswati Puja is held on this day. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year, the festivities are very subdued and limited to households. Smaller community-level celebrations are seen across India.
What’s the muhurat of Basant Panchami/Saraswati Puja?
While there are strict timings for each puja in the Hindu tradition, Basant Panchmi is one such festival, where puja/prayers can be held throughout the day. Known as ‘siddha muhurat’, Basant Panchami is the day when any sort of ritual – wedding, mundan, housewarming (griha pravesh), engagement – can be carried out without thinking about any special muhurat.
Mantra of Saraswati Puja
- Basant Panchami Tithi begins: 3:36 am on February 16
- Basant Panchami Tithi ends: 5:45 am on February 17
- Special Puja muhurat: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on February 16
- Ya Kundendu-Tushara-Hara-Dhavala,
- Ya Shubhra-Vastravrita,
- Ya Vina-Vara-Danda-Mandita-Kara,
- Ya Shveta-Padmasana॥
- Ya Brahmachyuta-Shankara-Prabhritibhir
- Devaih Sada Vandita,
- Sa Mam Patu Saraswati Bhagawati