Festival in India: Basant Panchami
Basant Panchami: Spring festival of India
Basant Panchami (Vasant Panchmi) is an Indian festival that comes on the fifth day of bright half of lunar month Magh according to Indian lunar calendar. Basant Panchami is observed as Saraswati Puja in several parts of India, especially in West Bengal.
Basant means spring in Sanskrit and Panchami refers to the fifth day of a lunar fortnight. Hence Basant Panchami (Vasant Panchmi) means the fifth day of a lunar fortnight in the spring season. As the lunar calendar is different from the solar calendar, Basant Panchami does not fall in the same solar day every year. Normally it comes between January 20 to February 10.
People fly kites on this day in several parts of India and especially in Punjab province to enjoy bright sunlight in the winter season. It is a festival of spring and people keeps themselves in a festive mood. Flowers blossom these days, especially marigold. The color of marigold is called Basanti Rang where Rang means color.
Basant Panchami will be celebrated in India this year on January 20, 2010. This festival of India indicates that winter season has been counting its last days and spring season is about to come.
Update: Basant Panchmi 2012
2012 Basant Panchami will fall on January 28 this year, 2011. Large numbers of marriages will occur in India on that day. This is counted as one of the most auspicious day (Abujh muhurta) in Indian astrology. Most of the marriage lawn and hotels are already booked for marriage ceremonies and celebrations.
Basant or Vasant Panchami will fall on February 14, February 4 and on January 25 in the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively. Saraswati Puja occurs on the same day. The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar whereas Vasant Panchami is celebrated following the lunar calendar. Hence, the difference is.
Saraswati Puja on Basant Panchami
Basant Panchami is Saraswati Puja
As I have mentioned above, Vasant Panchmi is a day of Saraswati Puja. Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and wisdom in India. Hindu, Jain, and Buddha all worship Devi Saraswati as the goddess of knowledge. She is also the goddess of speech and music. All ancient Indian religions worship Saraswati as the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. Especially students, scholars, and academicians worship her. Hindu believe her as the wife of Lord Brahma and she is known as almighty. She is also believed as a form of Shakti along with Laxmi and Durga.
Devi Saraswati has many names such as Shree, Bagdevi, Binapani (Veenapani), Sharda etc. She is all white. Her clothes are white and she is seated on a white lotus. Her vehicle is a white swan. She has a Veena (An Indian musical instrument similar to a guitar) in her hands.
Saraswati Puja, a festival in India, starts on Vasant Panchmi, the fifth bright day of lunar Magh and ends on Saptami, the seventh day of bright fortnight of Magh. Kolkata worships Devi Saraswati with great enthusiasm along with entire West Bengal. There are Puja pandals everywhere in Kolkata and other parts of Bengal to worship Saraswati. The goddess is also referred as "Maa" (Mother goddess) in West Bengal.
Bengalis prepare idols of Saraswati with clay and worship the idol during Saraswati Puja. These clay idols are drawn in a river or pond after the end of the ceremony. People, not only in Bengal but all over the world observe Saraswati Pooja. The goddess is observed and worshiped even in the US. Video follows.
Basant Panchami: The most auspicious day of Panchang
Basant Panchami is one of the most auspicious day (Abujh muhurta) of Jain and Hindu Panchang. A Large number of marriages occurred in India on this very auspicious day. Indians believe that there are good and bad days and time according to Indian or Hindu astrology. However, there are some festival days in India which referred as all auspicious.
Akshay Tritiya or Akha Teej, Basant Panchami, Dhan Teras, Vijaya dasami or Dashahara, Navratri, (Grand Festivals of India) are those days. It is not necessary to ask for any shubh Muhurat in these days. One can do any auspicious work such as marriage, Griha Pravesh (Inauguration of a house) or start a business or industry in these auspicious days without asking for any Shubh Muhurat from an astrologer.
A Large number of auspicious events, therefore, organized on the day of Vasant Panchmi, the Indian festival day.
People worship Surya Narayan (The Sun god), Bhu Devi (Mother Earth), Ganga (Ganges river), and Kamdev (God of love) and his consort Rati in this day. This is also an important day for bathing in the river during Magh mas in Hindu religion. Hindu community also does Pitri Tarpan (shraddh) on Basant Panchami.
Basant Panchami: festival of Romance
Vasant Panchmi in Punjab
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