The day of Vasant Panchami is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and the learning Goddess Saraswati. Vasant Panchami is known as “Shri Panchami” in Southern India as well as “Saraswati Puja”, especially in West Bengal. It falls during the last week of January or early February. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the fifth day of the lunar month of Magha. At this time of the year, the colors of the spring season are heralded. It is also called as ‘Saraswati Puja’ because it is believed that she was born on this day. It should be kept in mind that Saraswati Puja is also done during Sharad Navratri which is more popular in South India.
Who is Goddess Saraswati?
In Hindu mythology, every Goddess is symbolic of something or other. Each one of them is worshipped with full devotion. While Goddess Durga and Lakshmi represent ‘strength’ and ‘wealth’ respectively, it is Goddess Saraswati who is responsible for helping us to seek knowledge and wisdom successfully.
Goddess Saraswati is the Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, education, learning and all forms of art. She is believed to be created by Lord Brahma who is the creator of the entire universe. She is also a consort of Lord Brahma. She endows human beings with powers of speech. She has four hands reflecting her different personas.
Portrayed as a graceful woman, she is always seen attired in her pure white sari. She rides on a white swan and plays the Veena (an Indian stringed instrument). Her divine personality symbolizes purity, knowledge, and peace.
Vasant Panchami Significance
Vasant Panchami is believed to be the birth anniversary of Maa Saraswati. Hence the day of Vasant Panchami is also known and celebrated as Saraswati Jayanti.
As Diwali is significant for the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity and Navratri is significant for the worship of Goddess Durga, the goddess of power and valor, similarly, Vasant Panchami is significant for the worship of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. On this day, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped during the time before midday which is known as Purvahna time as per Hindu division of the day.
The colorful aspect of ‘Saraswati Puja’ is that the color ‘Yellow’ is given due importance. On this day, Saraswati is clothed in ‘yellow’ as it signifies the onset of spring which mustard flowers blossom all over the fields.
Devotees adorn the deity with yellow and white flowers and offerings. Usually, the sweets made from milk and white sesame are offered to Goddess Saraswati and also distributed as Prasad among friends and family members. In Northern India, various yellow flowers are offered to Goddess Saraswati on this auspicious day of Vasant Panchami due to the abundance of blossomed mustard flowers and marigold (Genda Phool) at this time of the year.
The day of Vasant Panchami is also significant for the ritual of introducing young children to the world of education and formal learning commonly known as Vidhya Arambha. Most schools and colleges arrange Saraswati Puja in their premises on the day of Vasant Panchami.
Vasant is the equivalent to spring and one of the seasons out of six Indian seasons in the Hindu calendar. Spring is known as the “King of all Seasons”, so the festival of Vasant Panchmi is celebrated forty days in advance. It is usually a winter-like condition in northern India, and more a spring-like condition in central and western parts of India on Vasant Panchami, which gives credence to the fact that Spring actually gets in full bloom 40 days after the Vasant Panchami day.
Vasant Panchami Deity(s)
Vasant Panchami Observance
Following are the majorly followed rituals and activities which are observed on the day of Vasant Panchami –
• Saraswati Puja at home
• Flying kites
• Wearing white and yellow dresses
• Offering mustard seeds and marigold flowers to Goddess Saraswati
• Vidhya Arambha for kids
• Saraswati Puja at schools and colleges
• Starting any new venture especially inaugurating any educational institutes or colleges
• Pitri Tarpan for deceased family members
Vasant Panchami Regional Variance
In Mathura/Vrindavan – Vasant Panchami celebrations are none other than those in temples of Mathura and Vrindavan. The day of Vasant Panchami is known as a mark of the beginning of Holi festivities in Brij temples. Most temples are decorated with yellow flowers on the day of Vasant Panchami. The idols of the temple are adorned with yellow-colored dresses to mark the arrival of spring.
On this day, the famous Shah Bihari temple in Vrindavan opens the Vasanti room for devotees. In Shri Banke Bihari temple of Vrindavan, Holi celebrations are started by tossing Abeer and Gulal on devotees. Those who prepare Holika Dahan Pandal start to dig up holes and install Holi Danda (a wooden stick) which would pile up with waste wood and dried cow-dungs in the next 41 days for Holika Dahan rituals.
In West Bengal – Bengalis are known for their artistic and literary brains. Do you what is their secret behind their God sent talent? They are die-hard believers of Goddess Saraswati. That’s why West Bengal celebrates Saraswati Puja magnificently. Vasant Panchami is celebrated as Saraswati Puja in West Bengal. Similar to Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja is also celebrated with lots of devotion and enthusiasm. Saraswati Puja is performed especially by students. As a custom, the girl students wear a yellow sari (Basanti Sari) and the boys wear dhoti and kurta. The artists as well as students keep education books, musical instruments, paint-brushes, canvas, inkpots and bamboo quills in front of the idol and worship them along with Goddess Saraswati.
In most homes of Bengali families, Anjali is offered to Goddess Saraswati in the morning. The Goddess Saraswati is worshipped with bel leaves, marigold, Palash, and guldaudi flowers, and sandalwood paste.
Like Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja is also celebrated as a community festival, people come together and build Pandals in their localities and install the idol of Goddess Saraswati. Traditionally, music is played on the instruments who know to play or on the music system to appease and to get the blessings of the Goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
In Naivedhya, Kul ( jujube fruit which is popularly known as Ber in North India), apples, dates, and bananas are offered to Goddess Saraswati and later distributed as prasad among devotees. Even though the Kul fruit becomes available in the market much before this festival, many people don’t start eating it until the fruit has been offered to Goddess Saraswati on Vasant Panchami day. Most people look forward to relishing the seasonal Kul fruit on this day. Topa Kul Chutney is a special dish that is savored on the day of Saraswati Puja along with Khichuri and Lubra.
Apart from Saraswati Puja, Hate Khori i.e. the ceremony of learning alphabets of Bengali language and known as Vidhya Arambha in other states is performed on this day.
In the evening the idol of Goddess Saraswati is taken out from home and pandals and immersed in the water body with a gala procession. Usually, the idol of Goddess Saraswati is immersed on the third day but many people perform immersion on the same day of Saraswati Puja.
In Punjab and Haryana – In the state of Punjab and Haryana, Vasant Panchami is known as Basant Panchami. Basant Panchami rituals are not related to any form of worship. However, it doesn’t make the occasion any less significant as the day is marked with various fun and frolic activities to welcome the arrival of the spring known as Basant.
The day is very popular for flying kites. Both men and women, participate in the event. The activity is so popular that the demand for kites soars just before Basant Panchami and kite makers have busy times during the time of the festival. On the day of Basant Panchami, the clear blue sky is generally filled with numerous kites with various colors, shapes, and sizes. It should be noted that in states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, kite flying is more popular during the time of Makar Sankranti.
The school/college girls wear traditional Punjabi outfits known as Giddha and participate in kite flying activities. To welcome the arrival of the king of seasons- spring, they prefer wearing yellow-colored dresses popularly known as Basanti color. A folk dance from Punjab, Gidha, is also very popular among school girls on the eve of Basant Panchami.
In Odisha – In the state of Odisha, the festival is celebrated as Basanta Panchami/Sri Panchami /Saraswati Puja. Homams and Yagnas are done in Schools and Colleges across the state. Students celebrate Saraswati Puja and worship Goddess Saraswati with great sincerity and fervor. Usually, toddlers start learning alphabets from this day in a unique ceremony called ‘Khadi-Chuan’/Vidya-Arambha.
In Gujarat -Vasant Panchami is mainly associated with the emotions of love & affection and emotional anticipation in Kutch (Gujarat) and celebrated by preparing bouquet and garlands of flowers set with mango leaves, as a gift. People usually get dressed in saffron, pink or yellow colored clothes and visit each other. Songs about Krishna’s pranks with Radha which are considered to mirror Kama-Rati are sung. This is symbolized by the Hindu deity Kamadeva with his wife Rati.
In Bali– In Bali and among Indonesian Hindus, Hari Raya Saraswati (the festival’s local name) is celebrated with prayers in family compounds, educational institutions, and public venues from morning to noon. Instead of their usual uniforms, teachers and students wear brightly colored clothes, and children bring traditional cakes and fruits to school for offerings in a temple.
In Sufi Muslim– According to great author Lochan Singh Buxi, Basant Panchmi is a Hindu festival adopted by some of the Indian Muslim Sufis in the 12th century to mark the grave of the Muslim Sufi saint dargah of Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi and ever since that day, it has been observed by the people of Chishti order. According to local traditions pf Sufi, the great poet Amir Khusrau saw Hindu women carry yellow flowers to a temple on Vasant Panchmi and they were dressed in yellow, and he adopted this practice and emerged as one of the Chishti order of Sufi Indian Muslims continue to practice
According to Astrology Vasant Panchmi is considered as “Sarvsiddhi Muhurat” which means any new thing can be started on this day even without looking for an auspicious time (Muhurat) as the entire day is divinely auspicious.
Saraswati Mantra is known to be the best way to please the Goddess. Following is the divine Saraswati Mantra for chanting:
या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता ।
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना ॥
या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता ।
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा॥
Ya Kundendu Tusharahara Dhavala Ya Shubhra Vastravrita ।
Ya Veena Varadanda Manditakara Ya Shveta Padmasana ॥
Ya Brahmachyuta Shankara Prabhritibihi Devaih Sada Pujita ।
Sa Mam Pattu Saravatee Bhagavatee Nihshesha Jadyapaha॥
Zodiac based worship
Worshipping Goddess Saraswati in a way or other is beneficial for one and all. But for being bestowed with the best of her blessings, it is advised to follow some suggestions along with worship as per your zodiac as given below:
People of zodiac Aries should worship Goddess Saraswati and recite Saraswati Kawach for getting blessed with knowledge and wisdom.
Taurus people should worship along with offering yellow rice. This will result in a happy atmosphere at home.
The natives of Gemini should chant Gayatri Mantra after worshiping Goddess Saraswati to ward away any financial troubles.
Cancerians should offer white sandalwood and white flowers to Maa Saraswati after worship to gain knowledge.
Natives of zodiac Leo should offer kheer or yellow-colored sweets to Goddess, This will put an end to the problems in job and business.
The natives of Virgo should chant Saraswati Mantra and offer white flowers to the Goddess. This will be beneficial in all aspects.
The natives should worship Goddess Saraswati with rituals and apply white sandalwood to the forehead after offering to the Goddess to get blessed with special kindness from her.
Natives of zodiac Scorpio should chant Saraswati Mantra and donate books and stationery to children in need. This will bless you with intellect.
Sagittarians should worship Lord Ganesha along with Goddess Saraswati to increase their knowledge.
After worshiping Goddess Saraswati, the native should give yellow cloths and fruits to five young girls. This will help you succeed wherever you put your heart and hard work in.
After worshiping Goddess Saraswati, the Aquarians should donate food to poor and needy. This will eliminate negative energy around you, making an environment for new opportunities.
The natives of Pisces should chant Saraswati Mantra 108 times on white sandalwood beads to be blessed with knowledge and wisdom.
May Maa Saraswati bestow you with knowledge and wisdom. For detailed consultation about your education and career, you can contact our astrologers at astromata.com
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