Vasant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, Intelligence, Education, Creativity and Music. ‘Vasant’ comes from the word ‘Spring’ as this festival marks the beginning of the Spring season as well. Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha which is on Monday, 22nd of January 2018. This day is also known as Shree Panchmi or Saraswati Panchmi.
As 'Diwali' – the Festival of Light – is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity), 'Navaratri' is dedicated to Goddess Durga (Goddess of Power & Valor), Vasant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge). It is believed that Goddess Saraswati was born on this day. Hindus celebrate Vasant Panchami with great fervor in Temples, Homes and even in Schools and Colleges. Statues of Goddess Saraswati are dressed in white clothes and are worshiped by devotees adorning white garments. Goddess Saraswati is offered sweets which are given away as ‘prasad’ to all people attending the ritual worship.
About Goddess Saraswati :
Goddess Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma who is the creator of this Universe. She herself is the Goddess of Knowledge, Intelligence, Education, Creativity and Music. By worshipping Goddess Saraswati, a person is blessed with Sharp intellect, Grasping power, Memory and Concentration. By worshipping Maa Saraswati, one can also get relief from problems like mental problems i.e retardness or speech problems like stammering because Goddess Saraswati is also the Goddess of Speech. To become powerful in this world and to achieve Success in all areas of life, knowledge is said to be the most powerful tool. Just like a wealthy person is respected in town or a King is respected in his Kingdom, a Knowledgeable person is respected everywhere and even by the Kings. It is due to this reason that every person tries to gain knowledge for achieving Success in life improving Intelligence and Wisdom. But to become truly & highly knowledgeable, it is very necessary that a person gets the Blessings of Goddess Saraswati. Hence, worshipping Devi Saraswati can give a greater perspective, deep insight, power of concentration and capability of working tirelessly. Hence, blessings of Goddess Saraswati is equally beneficial for Students, Businessmen, Politicians, Industrialists and Researchers because all the above factors are required by all of them.
Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful woman dressed in pure white, often seated on a white Lotus, which symbolizes Light, Knowledge and Truth. She is depicted generally by holding a musical instrument (lute or vina). The four arms of Goddess Saraswati represents the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She rides on a white goose (swan). The swan is known for its peculiar characteristic of separating water from milk, indicating that one should possess clear vision and knowledge to discriminate between good and evil.
The celebrations of Vasant Panchmi
People worship Goddess Saraswati to get enlighten with knowledge and to get rid of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance. This ritual of initiating education to children is known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham/Praasana which is one of the famous rituals of Vasant Panchami. Schools and Colleges arrange pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the Goddess.
During Basant Panchmi, the advent of spring is felt in the air as the season undergoes change. New leaves and blossoms appear in the trees with the promise of new life and hope. 'Yellow' is the dominant color of this festival as it signifies the ripening of fruits and crops. The mustard fields in North India blooms during this season giving a yellow coat to nature. People wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers to Goddess and put a yellow, turmeric tilak on their forehead. They visit temples and offer prayers to various Gods. New clothes are purchased for this festival and many delicious dishes prepared for this particular occasion. Vasant Panchami also announces the arrival of another big springtime event in the Hindu calendar - Holi, the festival of colors.