Date, timing and tithi of the festival
The festival of Vasant Panchami is thought to usher in the arrival of spring, and it is beneficial to worship the Goddess Saraswati on this day.
The auspicious Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami should be observed now that spring has arrived. This well-known holiday is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Magha. The Gregorian calendar assigns these dates to January and February. On January 26, 2023, Vasant Panchami will be observed.
Vasant Panchami Date – January 26, 2022 (Thursday)
Vasant Panchami Saraswati Puja Muhurat (Time) – 07:12 AM to 12:34 PM (Duration – 05 Hours 21 Mins)
Panchami Tithi (Starts) – 12:34 PM, January 25, 2023
Panchami Tithi (Ends) – 10:28 AM, January 26, 2023
The Sikh and Hindu holiday of Vasant Panchami is observed on the fifth day of the traditional Indian calendar month of Magha. It is also known as the Basant Festival of Kites, Shree Panchami, and Saraswati Puja (usually in early February). In the Indian states of Tripura, West Bengal, Odisha, and Haryana, it is a holiday.
Vasant Panchami, the fifth day of spring (‘Panchami’), signifies the festival’s timing as the conclusion of winter and the start of spring. It occurs 40 days before Holi and is the official beginning of that festival’s preparations.
The origins of Basant Panchami’s commemoration are remembered through historical events that are relevant today. On the Panchami tithi of the Magha month’s Shukla Paksha, Basant Panchami takes place.The Saraswati Puja ceremony is carried out on this day with tremendous fervour and dedication as it heralds the start of spring. The Shodashopachara Puja is performed in several regions of the nation as a form of adoration for Lord Kamdev and Goddess Rati.
Hindu goddess Saraswati is associated with creation, knowledge, music, art, and learning. In many parts of the Indian subcontinent, starting school on the auspicious holiday of Vasant Panchami is seen as fortunate. People perform many rituals and pujas in their homes, temples, and educational institutions to appease and honour Goddess Saraswati. Remember that the colour scheme and festival theme for Saraswati Puja is yellow if you intend to participate in it. You will never run out of wisdom if you provide yellow saris, drapes, treats, and flowers to Saraswati.
Intuition, intelligence, and wisdom are attributed to Maa Saraswati. Everyone, including Maa Saraswati and Lord Vishnu’s idols, wear yellow clothing. Yellow is a commonly worn colour, and meals made in this colour are also popular. On the day of Basant Panchami, the traditional ceremony of Vidyarambh, which symbolizes the act of learning and education, is also performed.
History Behind The Festival
According to legend, Lord Shiva once engaged in intense penance. Only Shiva’s son would be able to put an end to Tarakasura’s existence because of a blessing he had obtained. Shiva had turned into an ascetic who had spent a lot of time in meditation, and it seemed improbable that he would ever marry again after Sati (Shiva’s first wife) self-immolated, giving him the confidence to start inflicting devastation all over the universe. In the interim, Sati had taken the form of Parvati. To reach Lord Shiva, Parvati undergoes a difficult penance. Shiva, however, remained unaffected. The deity of love, Kama Deva, was then dispatched by Parvati to awaken Shiva from his meditation. On the day of Vasant Panchami, Kama Deva went to Shiva and made a fictitious spring on Kailash to draw the Lord and tempt him to break his fast. When Shiva finally awakens, Kama Deva is crushed to ashes. Then he declared Parvati his wife. Lord Kartikeya, the son of Shiva and Parvati, later destroyed Tarakasura.
In Hinduism, Panchami means “fifth,” and Vasant means “spring.” A religious celebration is held on the fifth day of the Hindu lunar month of Magha. It heralds the start of spring and the beginning of the end of winter. Vasant Panchami celebrations center on the “Saraswati Puja,” which honours the Hindu Goddess Sarasvati, the patroness of learning and intellect. She is responsible for many aspects of crafts, skills, and education. Hindu mythology describes her as being calm and intelligent. The day off is known as “Basant Panchami” in Pakistan.
Saraswati is portrayed in various ways, but most images show her seated on a peacock or a big lotus blossom while wearing white attire. Sarasvati has four hands, each representing a different quality: wisdom, mind, attentiveness, and ego. In other forms, she is pictured holding the lotus flower and holy texts in two hands while using the other two hands to play the sitar. She travels on a white swan rather than a lotus. Sarasvati is the embodiment of all that is good and pure, and her throne—whether it be a lotus or an animal—depicts the wisdom of knowing the difference between the two. The peacock is a metaphor for one’s ego-restraining lack of good insight.
Vasant Panchami is associated with the colour yellow since it marks the beginning of spring. At this time of year, mustard fields are familiar in the subcontinent’s Punjab area. To celebrate the arrival of spring, people dress in bright yellow and prepare colourful dishes like “ladoos” and “biryani.” In Northern India, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains recognize and celebrate the occasion, as do Punjabi Muslims in Pakistan.
- White clothing on the idol represents purity. The deity’s sari is coloured white or yellow.
- Rangoli is used to beautify the area where the idol will be put for the puja.
- The idol is positioned on a flat, low stool made of wood wrapped in yellow fabric facing East.
- Then, until the priest starts chanting the mantras at the start of the puja, the idol’s face is covered.
- A red-checked cotton fabric called “Gamocha” covers an earthen pot with green coconut.
- The god is adorned with marigold flowers. To receive blessings, the students offer the Goddess their books and pens.
Fruits are the primary type of offering made to the deity. The berries from the wild plum tree are the most significant. Puffed rice, jaggery, and yoghurt are required ingredients for desserts. Family members gather in front of the Goddess after a morning bath and dress in yellow. A string is tied to the earthen pot, and the priest will only untie it the following day before Bisarjan or the immersion rite.
The priest performs a havan with the aid of unique wood, ghee, joss sticks, and incense. The pooja was successful if there was no burning scent coming from them. With the prasad, a Diya or lamp is also kept ablaze. Each devotee receives a little bouquet, primarily marigolds, and the forest flame, to present to the Goddess called “pushpanjali.”
The priest offers arati both in the morning and in the evening. Devotees perform the offering in groups and follow the priest’s mantra repetitions. Conch shells are blown, and drums are beating as you perform this while chanting Sanskrit slokas. Each devotee is given a lit lamp used during the Arati to warm their hands and touch their heads.
On that day, nobody even looks at a book. This represents the Goddess blessing the books placed in front of her. The following day, the kids return their books while reading or writing in them in front of the Goddess. The puja has come to a close when the string on the earthen pot is loosened. As the goddess leaves, yoghurt, Khoi (puffed rice), and bananas are presented to her.
Traditional Foods Consumed
Meethe Chawal (Sweet Rice)
People prepare the rice according to the recipe’s instructions, then sweeten it and flavour it with spices like cinnamon, saffron, cloves, cardamom, coconut, and dry fruits. The sugar syrup improves the flavour, and the saffron provides a lovely yellow colour. Many people give it to the gods and goddesses as a sacrament (prasad or bhog) and then share it among the family.
Khandvi or Khaman Dhokla
It is a popular breakfast food in Gujarati cuisine and is a light snack dish made with gram flour. Many people also favour making khandvi with gram flour and yoghurt. It is simple to cook and only calls for a few ingredients. Add coconut as a garnish. After drying, the batter is folded into little cylinders.
One of the well-known dishes that individuals prepare at home is makhana kheer. Dry fruits and a few sweet spices are added to milk that has been heated up to make the sweet treat known as kheer. Additionally, you can make coconut kheer.
A unique cuisine called kadhi is produced from gram flour, curd or buttermilk, and gram flour-based pakoda. Some people prepare it with garlic and onions to give a potent and sweet flavor. Pakodas are added when the kadhi is finished cooking, and plain or jeera rice is served with the dish. It is a well-known meal served for lunch when Basant Panchami is observed.
This delicacy, well-known in West Bengal, is created by stuffing paneer with dry fruits like pistachios and almonds. It is a famous dessert provided during the Saraswati Puja festival because of its yellow colour. The spongy treat also has mouthwatering saffron, almonds, and cardamom powder flavors.
Kesar poori is another favourite for kicking off the arrival of spring. The mouthwatering paneer or potato gravy is paired with the thick, golden poori. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, it is a well-liked dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. To enjoy a meal with delectable flavours, accompany it with a sweet dish or beverage.
This delicious sweet dish is cooked on the auspicious day of Basant Panchami and is popular in Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is rich, like semolina and milk—cardamom and saffron helps to enhance the delicacy’s flavours.
Besan and Boondi Laddu
The preferred sweets in every household are besan or boondi laddus, which fill your home with aroma. The laddus have a simple preparation and are ideal for any celebration or home puja. They are a must-have meal for Basant Panchami celebrations because of their yellow colour.
A well-known meal to find in the Saraswati Puja pandals is khichdi. It is one of the cuisines that Bengalis enjoy most and is available in the afternoon or evening. It is made using dal and rice (pulses). It has a straightforward preparation and cooks ideally quickly. You may also add a few veggies and spices to improve the flavors.
You can make this flavor-packed meal in only 20 minutes. You can combine cooked vegetables with the remaining rice. Fresh rice is frequently prepared with veggies and seasonings. It tastes great when paired with plain, boondi, or bathua raita. However, many people refrain from eating onion or garlic on Basant Panchami.
- What are some things to avoid during Vasant Panchami?
Avoid eating anything with meat, onion, or garlic in it.
Refrain from using tobacco and alcohol.
Do not eat rice, wheat, or legumes if you are on a vrat.
Do not use words or acts to offend parents, teachers, or mentors.
- Why do we wear yellow on Vasant Panchami?
On Basant Panchami, people celebrate and attend Saraswati Puja while dressed in yellow. The colour yellow is reported to be Maa Saraswati’s favourite. Her idols wear customary yellow attire, accessories, and flowers to honor her.
- What does Vasant Panchami mean?
Vasant Panchami is a celebration that falls on the fifth day of the Hindu lunar month of Magha (January–February in the Western calendar), signifying the start of the end of winter and the arrival of spring. Vasant means “spring,” and panchami means “fifth.”
- On Saraswati Puja, why do we wear sarees?
The event honours the advent of Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, the arts, creativity, and music. She personifies grace and all that is wonderful. She shows up, as a result, dressed in a yellow saree. As a result, ladies of all ages welcome her by wearing yellow Saraswati puja sarees.
- What is Maa Saraswati’s, favourite sweet?
In India, it is one of the most popular candies. Almost always, Boondi Ladoo is ready for the offerings. The sweet is regarded as a representation of spirit during Saraswati Puja because of its yellow colour.