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Marking the beginning of the spring season, the festival of Basant Panchami is celebrated with full fervour. This is when the fields in Punjab can be seen in blooming. The festival is celebrated all across Punjab and people are seen dressed in different shades of yellow. Young boys and girls especially look forward to this festival because of the festivities and the fairs that are organized.
Apart from Punjab, the festival is celebrated throughout India but the celebration in Punjab is worth witnessing. The mustard fields are laden with yellow flowers and throughout the shades of yellow can be seen hugging both the land and people.
Basant Panchami is celebrated to mark the beginning of the spring season. It is also celebrated as the birthday of the goddess of knowledge and education Goddess Saraswati, the wife of Lord Brahma. The festival is observed in all educational institutions and students observe this day to get blessing from the goddess. The Namdhari Sikhs celebrate the occasion of Basant Panchami as the birthday of the originator of Namdhari Khalsa Panth, Sri Sath Guru Ram Singh. He was born on 3rd February 1816, which was the fifth day of Basant Panchami.
The festival of Basant Panchami is also celebrated by Sufi Muslims who gather at the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin in New Delhi. A group of qawwals visit a close by village in Haryana where they offer mustard flowers at the tomb of various saints and dye their clothes with yellow colour hereafter they start singing and dancing the Basant Qawwali tunes.
The festival of Basant Panchami is celebrated with great zeal and happiness. People are usually seen wearing yellow clothes. Visiting friends and relatives on the occasion is a tradition. People also exchange gifts and sweets. Ideally sweetened saffron rice is cooked in homes.
Places where the festival is celebrated in honour of Goddess Saraswati, special idols are crafted and placed. Children and elders are seen praying to the goddess with their account books and educational items. Singing and dancing is an inseparable part of the celebration. Many people also celebrate the festival by feeding Brahmans as they believe that the food will get accepted by their ancestors.
Several people also mark the occasion by flying kites. During this time, the skies in Punjab are filled with colourful kites and people conduct competitions to decide on the best kite flyer. The tradition of kite flying during Basant Panchami has been existent for a long time.
vFarmers are especially happy during the celebration of Basant Panchami. They are happy with their crop and celebrate by performing the folk dance of Bhangra. They visit gurudwaras and participate in langar organized at the gurudwara.
The yellow colour dominates the celebrations of Basant Panchami. The fragrance of yellow mustard fills the air. Kite flying is a major game during the festival and people enjoy being part of fairs and processions.
Several gurudwaras celebrate the occasion of Basant Panchami with pomp and show. The Chheharta Sahib Gurudwara in Amritsar is specially known for its Basant Panchami celebrations. The celebrations start in the morning and go on till late night and again on the next day till afternoon. The entire night people stay awake in the gurudwara reciting kirtans. The Dukh Niwaran Gurudwara in Patiala is also known for celebrating the festival with much fervour.
Several processions are taken out during the celebration of Basant Panchami. One can see locals performing their native martial arts and dancing to various songs of Basant. The processions are joined by people in the village and also of surrounding localities. Youngsters can specially be seen enjoying the festivities of the occasion. Visiting Punjab during the celebration of Basant Panchami is a wonderful experience for tourists.