Everything to know about Basant Panchami Festival
“ओम ऐं ह्रीं क्लीं महासरस्वती देव्यै नमः।”
An echo of the chanting of this mantra and bells ringing hitting the earshot. The subtle smell of flowers and dhoop-batti calming the senses and the mellow yellow view all around pleasing the sight. All of it marks that spring is here and it is the arrival of the delightful tyohar - Basant Panchami.
One of the major Indian festivals, Vasant or Basant Panchami is celebrated in the month of Magh. Vasant Panchami, in the literal sense means, ‘Spring’ and ‘Fifth’ and so, across the country, people with all harsh-ullas bid goodbye to the wintery days and welcome the sunny, light, warm spring days. Also known as the ‘king of all seasons’, Basant Panchami’s significance is highlighted via other facts related to the festival. Let’s dig into some of them as we get a bit closer to celebrating this year’s spring festivity.
Worshipping Maa Saraswati
The festival of Basant Panchami is celebrated as the birthday of Maa Saraswati. It is said that the Goddess blessed the renowned poet Kalidasa with immense knowledge and wisdom who was once thrown out of the palace of an extraordinary, intelligent prince Vidhyottama when she found out Kalidasa, who is a fool, is here to marry her. Unable to take in the shame, he decided to take his own life. That is when the Goddess Saraswati came and stopped him and showered upon him immense intelligence, sharp mind, and fame as a poet.
This is why in India, especially the regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Bengal, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh do Saraswati Puja on the day of Basant Panchami. People wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers and do the ceremony. Schools and Colleges celebrate the festivity by devoting their time to paying their respect to the Goddess with the hope to receive knowledge and wisdom.
Celebration across India
The happy festival brings a breeze of joy into the air. It is sheer enthusiasm that can be seen everywhere. India being a diverse country when it comes to customs and traditions, sees the celebration of Basant Panchami differently in different regions.
In Bengal, it is mostly observed that Bengalis wake up early on this day, all dressed in yellow-colored attires, preparing yellow-colored delicacies like sweets and saffron rice and distributing them in the neighborhood. They decorate their homes with yellow flowers to welcome Maa Saraswati. A tribute to learning, art, and music, they fast the entire day and worship the goddess for her blessings.
In Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, devotees take an early-morning bath and worship the god and goddess Shiva and Parwati, specifically with mango leaves and sweets. Considered the symbol of love, newly married couples also seek Shiva and Parwati’s blessings on this day.
In Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat people celebrate it as the ‘Festival of Kites’ and make it an eventful day when everyone gets together, having fun flying kites together.
Festive Food Delicacies
There are some major traditional festive foods that people prepare and binge on the day of Basant Panchami. Apart from the famous Makki ki Roti and Sarso ka Saag, the other lip-smacking dishes that people celebrate the spring with are Zarda/Saffron Rice, Kheer, Puri and Sheera, Dhoklas and Khandvis, Kesar Boondi Laddoos, Begun Bhaja, Khichdi, Rajbog, and many many more. All things yellow and bright!