Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Magh by the Hindu calendar. This year it falls on February 14. The festival is also known as ‘Sarasvati Puja’ and marks the beginning of Spring. Indians living in the subcontinent and all over the world jubilantly observe this holiday in different ways depending on the religious sect and region. Saraswati is the Goddess of arts, science, music, and knowledge in Hinduism.
History of Vasant Panchami
Vasant means ‘spring,’ and Panchami means ‘fifth’ in Hindu. The religious festival falls on the fifth day of the Hindu lunar month of Magha. It marks the beginning of the end of winter and the coming of spring. Celebrations of Vasant Panchami revolve around the Hindu Goddess Sarasvati — the goddess of all knowledge and intellect — ‘Sarasvati Puja.’ Different facets of crafts, skills, and learning are owed to her. Her persona is described in Hindu lore as wise and calm. Pakistanis refer to the holiday as ‘Basant Panchami.’
Depictions of Sarasvati vary, however, she is mostly depicted in pictures as wearing white clothing and sitting on a huge lotus flower or a peacock. Sarasvati has four hands, symbolizing wisdom, mind, alertness, and ego, respectively. Some variations show her carrying scriptures and the lotus flower in two of her hands while playing the ‘sitar’ instrument with the other two hands. Instead of sitting on a lotus, she rides on a white swan. Sarasvati stands for all things good and pure, and her throne, be it a lotus or an animal, expresses the wisdom of differentiating between good and bad. The peacock represents a lack of good understanding, held back by one’s ego.
Because Vasant Panchami also heralds the arrival of spring, the color yellow is associated with the celebration. In the Punjab region of the subcontinent, mustard fields are a common sight at this time of the year. People wear bright yellow clothes and cook colorful food, such as ‘biryani’ and ‘ladoos,’ to mark the beginning of spring. The holiday is recognized and observed by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in Northern India, and Panjabi Muslims in Pakistan.
Vasant Panchami timeline
During the Vedic period, the goddess Sarasvati is worshipped.
The goddess Sarasvati blesses the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa.
The Deo Sun Temple is constructed in dedication to the sun-god Surya.
Vasant Panchami is officially established.
Vasant Panchami FAQs
Can marriages take place on Vasant Panchami?
Yes. Vasant Panchami is considered the most auspicious day for marriages. Hindus believe that marriage is a sacred bond that can’t be done without an auspicious date or a ‘Shubh Vivah Muhurat.’
Can we drink during Saraswati Puja?
Avoiding alcohol and tobacco is advised during ‘puja.’ In observing a ‘vrat,’ it is also advised to not eat rice, wheat, and pulses.
Can we touch books on Saraswati Puja?
It is considered a bad omen to touch or read books on this day. Devotees of the goddess offer musical instruments and books to her and eat yellow rice.
How to Observe Vasant Panchami
Wear the color yellow
Beautify your house with yellow flowers. Wear traditional Indian clothes in the color yellow to get into the festive mood.
Celebrate with friends and family
Prepare a feast for your friends and family, and celebrate with them. You can even set a theme such as spring, yellow, or white.
Read stories of Sarasvati
Read stories of the great goddess Sarasvati, and share them with children. You may worship and observe religiously according to your beliefs.
5 Delightful Facts About Vasant Panchami
Sarasvati represents all things creative
The goddess Saraswati represents creative energy.
People visit temples
In Nepal, Bihar, and the eastern states of India, people visit temples and worship Goddess Saraswati to celebrate Vasant Panchami.
Food is distributed
In Hindu temples, food is distributed with the belief that Sarasvati herself will be joining her devotees in the feast.
Celebrating India’s agriculture
The festival also celebrates the rich agriculture of India and its endless fields of mustard crops.
Observances in Bali Island
The day is also celebrated on the Bali island of Indonesia.
Why Vasant Panchami is Important
It’s preparation for the upcoming Holi festival
The grand festival of Holi is 40 days after Vasant Panchami. Preparations begin from this day onwards.
It’s a festive religious tradition
Religious traditions that are full of colors and celebrations are the best. Vasant Panchami is just that.
We’re celebrating a rich culture
Hindus and Indians know how to celebrate. Their rich culture and traditions are reflected in their holidays, of which Vasant Panchami is a prime example.
Vasant Panchami dates