Vasant refers to the 'King of all seasons', spring (late January-February) and Panchami refers to the fifth day (Panch meaning ‘five’) of the fortnight in accordance with Hindu calendar. On the fifth day of spring, people celebrate Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami which is also known as Saraswati Panchami and celebrated by Hindus with great fervour
The Vasant Panchami 2020 Date (Panchami Tithi) is 29th January 2020, Wednesday. Panchami Tithi Begins - 10:45 AM on 29th. January, 2020 Panchami Tithi Ends - 01:19 PM on 30th. January, 2020
Let us understand what Vasant Panchami is. It is a celebration to welcome the advent of the colourful season of spring and is also a Vedic festival that honours the divinity of Goddess Saraswati who personifies vidya (learning and knowledge) and dispels tamas (ignorance).
What is the importance/significance of Vasant Panchami?
The answer to this often asked question is that on Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami Goddess Saraswati is worshipped, therefore this day is also known as Saraswati Panchami or Saraswati puja. This day we pray to Goddess Saraswati to bestow Her blessings on us. It is considered an important and an auspicious day to start anything new, like, people choose to keep their Griha Pravesh (house warming ceremony) on this day.
‘Saraswati’ is made of Sāra referring to ‘essence’ and Sva referring to ‘self’. It means the essence of one’s self and self-realization.
'Saraswati’ is made of Sāra referring to ‘essence’ and Sva referring to ‘self’ as in Svavalambi (self-reliant). It means the essence of one’s self and self-realization. Goddess Saraswati is a symbol of purity. She is described in the Rig Veda (2.41.16) as the best of divine mothers अम्बितमे नदीतमे देवितमे सरस्वति | ambitame naditame devitame sarasvati; “O best of divine mothers, we stand insignificant in front of You. O Mother, please bless us!” In the Vedic stuti dedicated to Saraswati, it is said that she is pure white like the flower Jasmine, sitting on the divine pure white lotus that attracts the Gods of Swargaloka, Siddhaloka, Bhuloka and planets. She is even worshipped and honoured by the Tridevas (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha).
What to do on Vasant Panchami?
Saraswati is the goddess of gyaan (knowledge), kala (arts), pragna (wisdom) and shiksha or vidya (learning) and speech.
On this day Basant Panchami Saraswati Puja is celebrated by worshipping Devi Saraswati. One who worships Goddess Saraswati whole heartedly attains Her quality of being self-realized, devoid of tamas (ignorance). Goddess Saraswati is given a special position in the Vedas. She is the goddess of gyaan (knowledge), kala (arts), pragna (wisdom) and shiksha or vidya (learning) and speech. Students, teachers, artists, scholars, musicians, singers, people seeking higher education or knowledge and everyone connected to the creative or artistic field dedicatedly worship Goddess Saraswati on this day to be blessed by Her.
History of Basant Panchami
The history of Basant Panchami says that Lord Brahma created Goddess Saraswati to help him create the Universe and its celestial bodies. Another legend says that Goddess Parvati requested Kamdev to shoot His arrow of love on Lord Shiva to break His Yogic meditation. Kamdev obliged and on this day Lord Shiva's meditation was broken to come back into normalcy and the material world.
How is Vasant Panchami Celebrated?
Vasant Panchami is celebrated in different regions of India in various ways. In Punjab it is celebrated as a Kite festival, it is a harvest festival in Bihar, the North-Eastern states of India, in Orissa and West Bengal it is celebrated as Saraswati Puja, In the South of India it is a festival where devotees go to the temples to worship the Goddess. It is a tradition in many places in India for women to swing on colourful swings tied to trees, singing traditional folk songs. In Rajasthan, people wear garlands of the pale yellow Jasmine flowers to mark the Basant Panchami celebration.
The colour Yellow is significant on this day, as it is believed that Goddess Saraswati favours this colour and at this time the crop of Mustard ripens to flower into fields full of Yellow flowers. So, Yellow colour is predominant in Basant Panchami celebration and people wear Yellow colour clothes on this beautiful festival. Devi Saraswati idols are adorned with Yellow sari in many places, while worshipping.
Yellow colour is predominant in Basant Panchami celebration and people wear Yellow colour clothes on this beautiful
Educational Institutes of all kinds, be it schools or institutes of learning music or any art form specially worship Goddess Saraswati with sincere prayers. Basant Panchami special music, dance, drama, recitation of poems and other cultural activities are organized by students to display their talents and show their reverence to the Goddess. In some parts of India like West Bengal, Saraswati idols are brought at home too and worshipped with joy. Not only Hindus but also Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists worship Goddess Saraswati.
Vasant Panchami is an auspicious day for marriage/weddings as it is considered to be the day when Lord Rama and Sita Maa got married, so Vasant Panchami 2020 for marriage is a very suitable and blessed day.
How to do Saraswati Puja on Vasant Panchami?
Saraswati Puja on Vasant Panchami is highly auspicious. i Most people worship Devi Saraswati idols made of clay on this day, which are immersed in water the next day. The devotees take a bath in the morning and it is said that having a bath with Mustard oil and Haldi (turmeric) pack pleases Goddess Saraswati. After which the idol is seated in an elevated platform. The idols are adorned with yellow or white Sari and yellow and white flower garlands. The puja is mostly done by the Pandit and devotees follow his instructions and repeat mantras after him.
The 'Puja Kalash' is then established in front of Her idol. After invoking Lord Ganesh, as per rituals, the puja vidhi starts. Yellow and white flowers are offered in 'pushpanjali' along with chanting of mantras.
Then Chandan, Akshata, Pushpa, Dhoop, Deep and Naivedhya are offered with Vedic mantra chanting. Sweets and fruit, especially of Yellow colour are offered to please the Goddess. Many offer Kheer (Indian sweets) which is later distributed along with edible offerings are as prasad / prasadam among everyone present. The Ber fruit (Jujube) is offered to Goddess Saraswati in West Bengal as it is said to be one of Her favourite fruit. In fact people and specially students refrain from eating Ber before Saraswati Puja.
Devotional songs are sung and last but not the least, devotees bow down in front of the idol for blessings and silently put forward their wishes to Saraswati. Another interesting ritual is that the students stack their books, pens/pencils, keep their musical instruments near the idol of Goddess for it to be blessed by Her and refrain from studying that day. In India the final exams in schools and colleges mostly fall within a few days after Saraswati Puja, so students and parents pray sincerely for success in exams.
On this day in some parts of India, toddlers are initiated to learning in a unique ceremony where they write their first syllable, in front of the idol of the Goddess Saraswati. It signifies that the child is now ready to embark on his educational journey.
Homas and Yagnas are done in Schools and Colleges in some states of India.
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