All You Need to Know About Vasant Panchami
Once Basant/Vasant Panchami fell on my birthday and I were made to wear yellow and blue frock (one of my favourites) which I happily donned. Everyone looked unusually chirpy while wishing me, and that kind of made me feel even more special. Today, when I was assigned to write an informative blog on Basant Panchami, a lot of memories from that birthday revived. I also take this as an opportunity to learn about a thing or two about the religious significance of Vasant Panchami, since it did not occur to me then to learn about its importance. Festivals are truly something, they have this amazing happy energy around them that is quite contagious and Basant Panchami is no exception. This spring festival in India is more than what you assume it is, and here’s all the information I could collect for a comprehensible read so that you can impart some knowledge to others this Basant Panchami 2019. Stay with me on this, ok?
Vasant Panchami Overview
Marking the commencement of the spring season, Vasant or Basant Panchami is an important part of the Hindu festival calendar that is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. The festival also marks the preparation time for one of the important religious holidays in India – Holika Dahan and Holi. Kite flying is an important tradition in several North Indian states, as well as in Pakistan on the occasion Vasant Panchami. Also, wearing yellow clothes, serving food yellow in colour is also part of the tradition. On this day Goddess Saraswati is also worshipped and at several educational centres Saraswati puja is done. Therefore, this festival in Hindu culture is also known as Saraswati Jayanti in many parts of the country.
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. The Basant Panchami date in 2019 is February 10.
Many of those following Hinduism dedicate Vasant Panchami to Goddess Saraswati who is considered the goddess of knowledge, language, music and all forms of art. The significance of Basant Panchami is that the festival marks the harvest time of mustard crop that has yellow blooms, which Hindus associate with Saraswati’s favourite colour.
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.
The history of Vasant Panchami also connects it to the birthday of Sun God. On this day, the statues in the Deo-Sun shrine of Aurangabad district of Bihar are washed and old red clothes on them are replaced with new ones. Devotees sing, dance and play musical instruments.
Interesting and Lesser Known Facts
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire, encouraged the celebration of Basant Panchami as a social event in the Gurdwaras.
- Although a Hindu festival, Basant Panchmi was adopted by some Indian Muslim Sufis in the 12th century to mark the grave of the Muslim Sufi saint dargah of Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi and ever since, has been observed by the Chishti order.
- In Pakistan, the Punjabi Muslims in and around Lahore fly kites during the spring season.
- Hindus of Indonesia as well as on the islands of Bali, Basant Panchami is called “Hari Raya Saraswati” which means great day of Saraswati. It also marks the beginning of the 210-day long Balinese Pawukon calendar.
God/Goddess Worshipped on Basant Panchami
Goddess Saraswati who is considered the deity of knowledge and art forms is worshipped on the day of Basant Panchami. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati along with God Kama are also worshipped on this festival. Goddess Sharda is also worshipped on this day, and girls between the age of 2 to 10 are fed with yellow rice.
What to Do on this Festival
In different parts of the country, Basant Panchami is celebrated in various ways. Here are some of the common practices that you can observe this Vasant Panchami in 2019 as well.
- The day prior to this popular Hindu festival, Goddess Saraswati’s temples are filled with food with a belief that the goddess will be joining the devotees in the traditional feasting the following morning.
- In temples and educational institutions, statues of Saraswati are dressed in yellow.
- At several educational institutions arrangements are made for special prayers or pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the goddess. Musical and poetic gatherings are also held in some communities in reverence for Saraswati.
- Special preparations of the feast of kesar halwa and yellow rice are done. These dishes also include saffron and are served to everyone.
Like every festival, Vasant Panchami too brings a lot of happiness and an opportunity to meet and greet those who matter. We hope this blog helped you get all the details you need to know, it certainly filled me with a lot of information. In case we missed out on any important detail, please let us know in the comment section below. You should also share this blog with your friends and family and give us a big thumbs-up.
Also, a very prosperous and joyous Basant Panchami 2019 to you!