Basant Panchami is a hindu festival that falls on the fifth day of the Hindu lunar month of Magha (January-February in the Western calendar) marking the beginning of winter’s end and the coming of spring. This year Basant Panchami will be celebrated on January 26.
The festival is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and art.
As the name suggests, basant means 'spring' and panchami means 'fifth', which means first day of spring and falls on the fifth day of the month of Magha.
The festival is also known as Vasant Panchami, Shri Panchami and Saraswati Panchami. It marks the beginning of preparation for Holi, which falls forty days after the festival.
The legends says that Kalidasa saddened by the abandonment from his wife planned to commit suicide by drowning himself in a river. He was about to do that when goddess Saraswati came out of the water and asked Kalidasa to take a bath in it. His life changed thereafter as he got blessed with wisdom and became a great poet.
The colour yellow has a lot of significance on the day. People celebrate the day by wearing yellow outfits, worshipping goddess Saraswati and eating traditional dishes. The colour yellow symbolises knowledge and also denotes mustard fields that are associated with the arrival of spring season.
Basant Panchami is commonly observed as Saraswati Puja in different parts of India with slightly different traditions. One common custom remains for people to dress up in yellow attire and eat yellow rice.
While in North India, especially in Punjab and Haryana, the festival is called Vasant Ritu and is celebrated as the festival of kites.
In Maharastra, married couples visit temples in yellow clothes on their first Basant Panchmi together. The people of Rajasthan wear jasmine garlands on this day.
In the eastern part of the country, in West Bengal, it is celebrated as Saraswati Puja. While in Bihar, the ancient statue of the Deo sun deity is washed and decorated during the celebrations of Vasant Panchami.
In the southern states, it is known as Sri Panchami. In Gujarat, bouquet and garlands of flowers set with mango leaves are exchanged as gifts. In the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh people worship Shiva and Parvati on this day.
This year Basant Panchami will fall on Thursday, January 26. The Panchami Tithi will begin at 12:34 pm on January 25 and end at 10:28 am on January 26. The Muhurat for Vasant Panchami is 07:12 am to 12:34 pm.
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