Vasant Panchami - A Time for Growth•
Posted on January 29 2022
The festival of Vasant Panchami is dedicated to the Goddess Saraswati who is known as the Goddess of Learning; encompassing all knowledge, music, and the fine arts and is also called Saraswati Puja. Vasant means spring and Panchami means fifth. Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth (Pancham) day of the month of Magha in the Shukla Paksh. The Sun is in Uttarayan during this period and is believed to usher in warmer days and nights. This year Vasant Panchami is falling on Saturday, 5th February.
The festival is also associated with the heralding of spring and the beginning of the harvest season. The arrival of spring is celebrated by having lush fields full of ripe mustard crops and yellow flowers like marigold and daffodils. All seasonal flowers during this period are yellow. Though Goddess Saraswati is usually depicted as wearing white, it is said that her favourite colour is yellow. This is the reason why people wear yellow-coloured clothes on Vasant Panchami, to please the Goddess.
Vasant or Spring is considered the king of all seasons, not just because it heralds the end of winter but also because it is associated with growth, fertility and abundance. It is also considered to be an ideal time to start something new- a new venture, shifting into a new house (Grah Pravesh), etc. In the Bhagavad Gita, when describing himself, Lord Krishna says that among all the seasons, he is Spring.
According to ancient legend, there once lived a very intelligent princess called Vidyottama. She was known to have defeated many learned men in debate and had declared that she would only marry someone who was more intelligent than her. A group of pandits decided to teach her a lesson and break her arrogance by tricking her into marrying a fool. They came across a simple man named Kalidasa who was cutting a branch on which he was sitting. They presented him to the princess and the marriage took place. Soon the princess discovered that she had been tricked and she threw Kalidasa out of the palace. Dejected and ashamed Kalidasa decided to end his life. However, the Goddess Saraswati appeared before him and asked him to take a dip in a river. When he emerged from the river, he found himself enlightened, intelligent and knowledgeable. He went on to become a renowned poet. Devotees thus worship the Goddess, hoping she would bestow them with such knowledge and wisdom.
The Sun God, Surya is also worshipped on this day. Surya symbolizes light and an end of darkness. The sun is also considered essential for all life to exist. Many people celebrate the founding of the Deo-Sun temple in Bihar, dedicated to the Sun God.
People usually prepare dishes which are yellow or saffron in colour like sweet rice with saffron, laddoos, kesari halwa, kheer and khichdi. They also make offerings of yellow fruits and vegetables. The colour yellow symbolizes positivity, peace, energy, light and prosperity. It is also the colour of planet Jupiter which represents good fortune, healing and miracles. Jupiter also governs higher education, travel and wealth. The colour yellow is therefore considered to be very auspicious and a symbol of all things good.
Written by : Aarti Natarajan Sharma