Indian Festival | Basant Panchami | Saraswati Puja (2016)
Basant Panchami, also called Vasant Panchami,
will be celebrated on
12 February 2016
Ripe Mustard Crop
About Basant Panchami
Basant Panchami, also called Vasant Panchami, Saraswati Puja, Shree Panchami, Sufi Basant and the Basant Festival of Kites is a spring festival that celebrates the onset of spring as well as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati.
Vasant or Basant means spring and Panchami means 5th day. Therefore Vasant Panchami falls on the 5th day of the Magha month or Spring.
Basant Panchami is both a harvest festival and a religious festival, the former for the peope of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Bihar and Bengal states of India and the latter for those in Uttar Pradesh, Eastern India & some parts of Bengal and Punjab. It is celebrated in North India with much enthusiasm.
In Bihar, people also celebrate it as the birthday of the Sun God.
For Sikhs, this day also marks the day when their tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh got married. Sikh religious hymns are raga based and Basant raag is sung on the advent of spring, and continues till the first day of Vaisakh.
As a seasonal festival, Basant Panchami herals the start of spring and marks the end of winter. Yellow color predominates on this day whether in clothes people wear, or the sweet dishes that are prepared on this day, or even in flowers that are offered to the deity while worshipping.
Though predominantly a Hindu festival, Basant Panchami is celebrated by the Muslims, as Sufi Basant, since the 12th century, and is celebrated at the dargah of the Chishti Saint Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi and at all dargahs of the Chishti.
Basant Panchami Significance
Hindus dedicate this day to the worship of Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, Art & Music. They visit temples and perform a variety of religious rituals.
The traditional worship of ancestors called "Pitra Tarpan" is also done by Hindus and Brahmins are offered food on this occasion.
Even school and colleges organise cultural activities and a special worship for the Goddess Saraswati. Books and study material are placed at the feet of the Goddess in the belief that she will bless them. Studies are given a day off today.
For little children uninitiated to learning, this day is taken as a right an auspicious opportunity to mark the beginning of their learning process.
Even Kamadeva, the God of Love is honoured and worshipped on this day, since olden times, Vasant Panchami has been associated with Shingara Rasam which is the ritual of a lover dressing up for his/her beloved. This ritual is perceived as a metaphor for the relationship between an individual and the Divine.
Basant Festival Kite
Basant Panchami Celebrations
This widely celebrated North Indian festival, besides being celebrated as the day of worship of Goddess Saraswati, is celebrated with yellow color predominating in most things done on this day.
The color yellow is not only associated with the Goddess as well as the ripe crop of mustard that is standing in the fields waiting to be harvested but with prosperity, happiness and energy as well.
The Goddess is dressed in yellow and the worshippers too dress in the same color. Traditional folk songs greeting the spring season are sung.
Two traditional sweets that are an inseparable part of these festivities are the Kesar Halwa (a pudding made with flour and saffron) and Sweet Rice (rice with saffron). See the videos below to watch how they are prepared.
Though kite flying is a popular sport in India, on this day the passion and fervor for it touches its zenith. The sky can be seen dotted with innumerable kites of various sized, colors and shapes.
Kite flying competitions are also widely held. Prizes are offered to the winner whose kite remains uncut till the end as also to those having the most beautiful kite as well as to those having the biggest kite.
Kites of sizes are big as 10 to15 feet long are specially made for this occasion.
Children and adults all get into the festive kite flying and kite fighting mood. Age is no barrier.
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Rava Kesari - Sooji Kesari -Semolina Kesari - Indian Sweets
Sweet Saffron Rice
Aayee Jhoom Ke Basant Jhoomo Sang Sang Mein
© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly
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