Be ready for a sensory overload, because this festival will leave you amazed! The lush green grass, the aroma of the beautifully blossoming flowers, fields running into wild colours of yellow and green and people in their blazing colours- dressed in turbans and chunries. Basant Panchami, landing on the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magh, marks the arrival of the spring season, with new life and blossoming fields.
The festival roots back to the olden times, and was then known as ‘Vasantotsav’, utsav meaning festival, the name thus translating to the Spring Festival. Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami literally translates to the spring festival beginning on the fifth day of the month, with ‘Vasant’ meaning ‘Spring’ in Sanskrit and ‘Panchami’ meaning five or fifth.
This day witnesses a plethora of sweets and dishes, with halwas and ladoos on the roll. Some people even fly kites on these days. Offerings are given to Goddess Saraswati, for whom this festival is dedicated. The great deity Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge & wisdom. She is considered to be the creator of the universe alongside Lord Brahma. Idols represent this goddess always holding a book in one hand and a Veena in the other. On the third hand are beads of rosary and the fourth hand projects forward, spreading blessings to all her devotees.
The ‘Book’ is the symbolism for knowledge & wisdom and the Veena represents the importance of art in our lives. The beads of rosary equal dedication and concentration to a task, be it anything in our lives. It is believed that her energy runs through the entire earth, rejuvenating us constantly.
The festival of Basant Panchami thus celebrates the spirit of learning and wisdom. In some cultures, people teach their young ones how to write for the first time on this day. Schools and educational institutions have special activities on this day. People take blessing from goddess Saraswati and seek guidance as they walk on the path to achieve wisdom. Devotees end their day with thoughts of being thankful for all we have, the education we receive, our books and pens, music and arts, and all other things of the world. With spring in the air and the spirit to learn on our minds, the festival of Basant Panchami is a day filled with colour & happiness.