Basant Panchami – Festival of Spring
The name itself signifies the festival BASANT/VASANT which means SPRING and PANCHAMI means FIFTH i.e. The fifth day of Spring.
WHEN IS BASANT PANCHAMI CELEBRATED ?
It Falls on Panchami of the Sukal Paksh ( Waxing moon) in the month of February. It is celebrated with gaiety and festivity to mark the end of the winter. The festive color is yellow or mustard which symbolizes the onset of Basant Ritu (Spring).
HOW AND WHY IS BASANT PANCHAMI CELEBRATED ?
Vasant Panchami is celebrated all across the country. On this day Hindu people worship Maa Saraswati (Lord Bharama’s wife), the goddess of knowledge, wisdom and music. Seated on Lotus flower with Veena in one hand, she is also known as Veena Vandini.
In Bengal this day is celebrated with great zeal in honor of Maa Saraswati and this day is considered as Saraswati Puja. As per the tradition young children wear yellow colored clothes and are taught to write their first alphabets; a rite symbolizing an initiation into the realm of knowledge. In fact some parents wait for this auspicious day for their child to begin his education.
Many children are made to write their first letter after being blessed by the goddess on this day. It is common to see children in temples sitting on the temple floor, writing their first letter. Students and musicians seek blessings from Maa Saraswati on this auspicious day. All education related things like books, pens, music instruments are kept near Maa’s idol to seek her divine blessings.
All over India on this day people host art and cultural shows, poem and music recitals in honor of Maa Saraswati. After a full day of puja and traditions, idols of Maa Saraswati are taken to rivers or sea for Visarjan (Immersed in water).
At this time in Punjab, the mustard fields are blooming with yellow color as if mother nature has spread gold all over the land. Farmers dance and celebrate this day by singing, dancing and thanking gods for their fields which yielded bountiful crops.
This festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm in educational and cultural institutions and homes. People wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers in worship and put a yellow, turmeric tilak on their forehead. They visit temples and offer prayers to various gods. At home, kesar halva, also yellow in color, is prepared. A tradition of kite flying is the main highlight of the day. Kite flying competitions are held across the country and adult and young children are seen on their terraces with colorful kites flying in the sky.
RECIPES OF BASANT PANCHAMI FESTIVAL
This Basant Panchami try out Chana dal Pulao. Rice combined with chana dal and spices is a most delicious combination of delicate flavors and textures.
Small pearl size boondi balls are fried and later dipped in sugar syrup to form this delicious delight. Vision that everyone gets in their mind when they think of Motichoor ladoos is of these rich orange shaped balls.
Instant Khaman Dhokla – a nutritious and irresistible Gujarati snack. Khaman Dhokla is prepared with gram flour, mixed with spices and steamed till its soft and fluffy.