New Delhi: Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami refers to the religious Hindu festival of Saraswati Puja or Shree Panchami.
It is a seasonal spring festival that is observed in many regions of India.
It is celebrated as Basant Festival of Kites in Punjab region; observed in Gurdwaras as a Sikh festival, the birthday of the Sun God in Bihar and as a harvest festival in many regions. Vasant Panchami indicates the beginning of spring and is celebrated with great joy. In the Hindi language, the word Basant or Vasant” means ”spring” and ”Panchami” means the fifth day. Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Magh month. Purvahna Kala, the time between the sunrise and the midday decides Vasant Panchami day.
It is celebrated on the day when Panchami Tithi prevails during Purvahna Kala.
The festival of Vasant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom. According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Saraswati is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. Vasant Panchami is considered as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati. She is the goddess of learning. Hence, students seek the blessings from Saraswati. This ritual of initiating education in the kids is known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham which is one of the rituals of Vasant Panchami.
The most popular story associated with the festival is that of the legendary poet Kalidasa. According to the story, Kalidasa was a simpleton and was tricked into marrying a princess who didn’t respect him. A crestfallen Kalidasa wanted to end his life but just before he could commit suicide, the goddess Saraswati appeared before him and asked him to take a dip in the river. Kalidasa did as he was told, and emerged from the water an intelligent, knowledgeable and cultured person, who would eventually become a renowned poet. That is why on this day, the goddess is worshipped so that she may bestow the gift of knowledge to her devotees.