Basant Panchami is a festival celebrated in Uttarakhand to welcome the season of spring. The winter weary soul cheers the arrival of sweet spring when the flowers bloom, the birds sing, the splendid sun beams and cold no longer stings. Basant Panchami is also referred to as Sripanchami.
On the occasion of Basant Panchami, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped. According to Hindu religion she is the goddesses of learning and music. She is highly revered and respected and people seek her blessings by praying to her. They want her to grant them the wealth of knowledge. Yellow is considered her favorite color. On this day, everyone uses yellow cloth, yellow handkerchiefs and put a yellow tilak on their foreheads. They even clad themselves in yellow. The sight of all the people adorned in clothes of such a bright color is wonderful.
On this day, the young particularly rejoice. They participate in unrestrained merry making. Kesar Halva, a sweet dish which is also yellow in color is enjoyed avidly by the youngsters.
The air reverberates with the sound of the beating of drums. This is how these hilly people choose to welcome basant or spring. Chounphula and Jhumelia dances are also performed on the occasion of Basant Panchami.
At Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, a fair is held within the premises of the Bharat temple on the occasion of Basant Panchami. In a grand procession the idol of Lord Bharat is carried through the town. This is because this idol was installed in the temple on this day by Jagat Guru Shankaracharya.
The festival of Basant Panchami also marks the beginning of holi baithaks.
Basant Panchami is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar in the month of Magh. It generally falls in Late January or early February.