Vasant Panchami, also known as Basant Panchami, is a festival celebrated in India and Nepal to mark the arrival of spring. The festival is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, Saraswati. She is also regarded as the goddess of music, art, and wisdom.
The fifth day of Shukla Paksha of Magha month (January/February) in the Hindu calendar marks the beginning of this auspicious festival.
The day is a celebration of knowledge, education and the arts. It is also a time to revel in kite flying, feasting, and music, and it is considered one of the holiest days for marriages.
Students, teachers and others celebrate this festival to seek the blessing of the goddess Saraswati for their academic or intellectual pursuits.
The Legend of Vasant Panchami
Various Hindu religious scriptures talk about the origin of Vasant Panchami; some of the most popular stories among them are:
The Creation of Earth
- Lord Brahma created the Earth and was mesmerised by it. He decided to walk among the living beings and experience the world he had made.
- As he came down to earth, he felt a haunting silence that prevailed. He felt distraught by the void that the silence had created. He then summoned an angel to solve his conundrum.
- The goddess decided to play her Veena (string musical instrument) and sing hymns to break the silence. Since then, the goddess became known as Saraswati, aka Veena Vadini (harp player). She also blessed the earth with speech, music, art, creativity and enthusiasm
- Devotees began to celebrate this day as the birthday of the goddess Saraswati to mark the day when she bestowed the gift of speech, love, music and enlightenment upon the mortal world.
Matsya Purana Storyline
- The Matsya Purana mentions a captivating story of the Hindu god of love, Kamadeva. The god of love once tried to woo lord Shiva to marry Parvati and, in the process, was turned into ashes.
- Rati, the wife of Kamadeva, underwent 40 days of strict penance to appease lord Shiva. Finally, Kamadeva was restored to his original form by Shiva, who was impressed by the devotion of Rati.
- In many parts of India, this day symbolises the reunion of Kamadeva and Rati and is known as Rati-Kaam Mahostsav. Thus, it is also considered an auspicious day for weddings and other romantic celebrations.
How is Vasant Panchami Celebrated?
- People begin this day by praying to the goddess Saraswati. People dress in yellow, the colour of spring and the goddess, and offer yellow clothes, yellow flowers, gulal, akshat, incense, lamps, smells etc., to the goddess Saraswati.
- People sing hymns and devotional songs in honour of the goddess and play musical instruments such as the sitarand tabla.
- Vasant Panchami also has a cultural undertone. During the festival, people prepare traditional sweets and savouries like kesar kulfi, dahi bhalla, and khichdilater offered as prasad(sacred food) to the gods.
- Most people in North India fly kites to exemplify the season change from winter to spring. The advent of spring brings a new zeal of life. Colourful flowers bloom, animals and birds emerge from hiding, and you can feel a new energy brewing in and around you. People fly kites to acknowledge these changes and thank the gods for the blessings.
- Many educational institutions organise special prayers and cultural programs to mark the occasion. Children are particularly excited about the festival as they try to learn something new on this day.
Loved this post? Why not pin it for later!
Vasant Panchami is celebrated enthusiastically in most parts of India.
The festival has its roots in ancient India and is an important festival in Hindu Culture. It is a festival that brings people together to celebrate the arrival of spring and the blessings of the goddess of knowledge and learning.
Let’s celebrate this festival with great joy and enthusiasm and seek the blessings of the goddess Saraswati.