As the famous quote goes, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Vasant Panchami is the time when spring is heralded and winter is bid adieu.

In the glorious season of Vasant or spring, the Goddess Saraswati, who is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, music, art and culture, is invoked on the day of Vasant Panchami.

Earlier, during the ancient times the Vasant Panchami was celebrated in the palace of the Kamadeva, where dancing girls and numerous others celebrated the day with new clothes, dances and by singing ballads of love. However, during the passage of time, the day has come mainly to be celebrated for Saraswati Puja, however, Kamadeva too is offered a feast in many places.

 

When is Vasant Panchami celebrated?

Vasant Panchami is celebrated in the fifth day of the month of Magha according to Hindu calendar and February according to the Gregorian calendar.

 

What are the dates of Vasant Panchami in the next five years as per modern calendar?

  1. In 2014, the Vasant Panchami date is Tuesday, February 4.
  2. In 2015, the Vasant Panchami date is Saturday, January 24.
  3. In 2016, the Vasant Panchami date is Friday, February 12.
  4. In 2017, the Vasant Panchami date is Wednesday, February 1.
  5. In 2018, the Vasant Panchami date is Monday, January 22.

 

Why the color yellow is associated with Vasant Panchami?

Since this is the time when winter is bid adieu and spring is welcomes, the mustard fields are abloom with the bright yellow flowers. Thus the color yellow is associated with Vasant Panchami and Saraswati Puja. Therefore people on this day wear yellow colored clothes and offer sweets of yellow color to the Goddess Saraswati. Devout devotees also give alms on this day and feed Brahmins as it is believed that this way the ancestors accept the same food.

 

How was the Goddess Saraswati born?

When Lord Brahma created the universe, he gradually became sad as the universe was absolutely noiseless and everything was still like dead. There was no noise, no music. Thus he sought Lord Vishnu’s suggestion to solve this problem. Lord Vishnu suggested him to invoke Goddess Saraswati. When the Goddess emerged, she in Brahma’s request gave life to his creations by her Veena or the Lute.  When she started playing her melodious Veena the first note coming out of it was SA, which is also the fist note of the seven notes of musical swara.  As she holds the Veena in hand, she is also called Veenapani, as she gave swar to the creations; Brahma gave her the name Vageswari.

A popular legend regarding the Goddess is that Kalidasa, the post before becoming famous had married a beautiful princess who left Kalidasa; the moment she realized that he was illiterate. In despair, Kalidasa was on the verge of committing suicide when Saraawati emerged from the water and asked him to take a holy dip in the river. The sacred water then gave him the wisdom and the knowledge to become an epic poet.

 

What is the procedure of Saraswati Puja?

Saraswati, as mentioned earlier is the benevolent Goddess of learning and knowledge. Vasant Panchami is believed to be the birthday of Goddess Saraswati, who is the energy of Brahma, the creator of this universe.  People invoke her to seek knowledge, be enlightened and to rid themselves of lethargy and ignorance. Apart from invoking the goddess at every home, Saraswati Puja is celebrated and organized in schools and colleges to seek the blessing of the Goddess.

The day of Vasant Panchami is also called Abujh Muhurat, that is, it is the most auspicious muhurat. The ritual of initiating a child to alphabets, in essence education is also started on this day because the day is very favorable. This is done in front of the Goddess and is called Akshar Abhyasam or Vidya Arambham or Hath e Khori as is the language prevalent in different parts of the country. Vidyarambh on this day is believed to increase the perception and wisdom of a child.

Since it is the day the Goddess of wisdom and knowledge is worshipped, it is an auspicious day to inaugurate a training institution or an academy of learning.  The renowned educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya had founded the now famous Banaras Hindu University on this day of Vasant Panchami.

 

How is the Puja celebrated?

The rituals should be done dill the Panchami tithi is there on this day.  A kalash after being enshrined is settled. No rituals can start without invoking Lord Ganesha. After that Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshipped. Goddess Saraswati is bathed and adorned in white flowers, garland and white saree. The goddess Saraswati is accompanied by her Vahana, a white swan. Seasonal fruits and sweets are offered as prasadam. Books, various instruments used for studies and pens are offered at her feet in the hope that she will bless the same.

Mantras or chanting offered towards the goddess are as follows –

Om Saraswati Mahabhagey, Vidye Kamala Lochaney |
Viswarupey Vishalakshmi, Vidyam Dehi Namohastutey ||
Jaya Jaya Devi, Charachara Sharey, Kuchayuga Shobhita, Mukta Haarey |
Vina Ranjita, Pustaka Hastey, Bhagavati Bharati Devi Namohastutey

These prayers along with many more reverberate in all the homes and all the institutions paying homage to the Goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom.

 

Do people get married on Vasant Panchami?

As during the ancient times, this festival was predominantly celebrated in the palace of Kamadeva, getting married on this day, that is on Abujh Muhurat is the most auspicious date to get married. Every minute of the day is so auspicious that one does not need to match birth stars also to solemnize the marriage.

People also conduct Griha Pravesh or house warming while entering a new house on this auspicious day.

 

Is Kite Flying associated with Vasant Panchami?

As we bid farewell to winter and welcome the spring during this time, a new energy and synergy is noticed in nature. To express the happiness and zeal, people organize kite flying festivals in lot of parts of India. Punjab and Haryana sees the maximum number of kite flying festivals as it is the tradition in those parts of the country.

Thus Vasant Panchami is a beautiful religious festival which also echoes social and seasonal relevance and is celebrated with much fanfare in all parts of the country by everyone, individually and also by institutions of learning and knowledge.
 


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