Vasant panchami

‘Vasant Panchami’ (also called Basant Panchami) refers to the following festivals: the religious Hindu festival of Saraswati Puja also called Shree Panchami; Sufi Basant observed in Sufi shrines; the seasonal spring festival of Vasant Panchami observed in many regions; the Basant Festival of Kites of the Punjab region; observance in Gurdwaras as a Sikh festival; the birthday of the Deo-Sun God in Bihar and a harvest festival. The festivals are celebrated on the fifth day of Magha.

Vasant Panchami has a specific meaning: Vasant means “spring,”and Panchami means “the fifth day.” Vasant Panchami falls on the fifth day of spring.

The festival is observed in the northern part of the Subcontinent. Although it is notified in the ritual calendar of South India, it is not celebrated as a household or public event but in temples as a religious festival.The same rings true of the central region of Madhya Pradesh.

Vasant Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Indian month of Magha .

The seasonal aspects of the festival are more significant in Northern India due to the sharper contrast between the winter and the spring.People celebrate the day by wearing yellow, eating sweet dishes and display yellow flowers in homes. In Rajasthan, it is customary for people to wear jasmine garlands.

In Uttarakhand, in addition to Saraswati Puja, people worship the mother earth and the crops or agriculture. Worship involves people placing cowdung heaps in the fields, and keep ears of barley and wheat on the heaps. Earthen lamps and incense are lit on the heap to signify worship to the mother god and the crops or agriculture. Ears of corn and barley are also tied to doors and windows of buildings. People eat sweet rice and wear yellow.In Gujarat, women perform the dandya dance on Vasant Panchami which is a dance associated with harvesting, reaping and sowing.In Bihar and Bengal, people worship the plough linking the festival to a harvest ritual.

In the Punjab region, Basant is celebrated as a seasonal festival by all faiths and is known as the Basant Festival of Kites. Maharaja Ranjit Singh introduced the tradition of kite flying on Basant over two hundred years ago, which became popular in the Punjab region.Kite festivals are held in cities such as Firozpur, where children generally fly kites to mark the auspicious occasion. This has led to the festival being called the Festival of Kites or the Kite Festival.Children buy Dor (Thread) and Guddi or “Patang” (Kites) in huge quantities to fly overhead. This attracts tourism from around the world.