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Vasant Panchami In India

Vasant Panchami is the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. This festival is usually celebrated in Magh, which is between the months of January and February in Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated in countries such as India.

 

Indian girls wear bright yellow dresses during the Hindu spring festival Vasant Panchami. ©iStockphoto.com/michaeljung

What do people do?

Vasant Panchami is a famous festival that marks the end of the winter season and ushers in the springtime. Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of the Vasant Panchami festival. Young girls wear bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities. The color yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life. The whole place bursts with yellow during the festival.

People dress in yellow and they offer yellow flowers to others and to the gods and goddesses.  They also prepare and feast on a special pastry called kesar halwa orkesar halva, which is made from flour, sugar, nuts, and cardamom powder. This dish also includes saffron strands, which gives it a vibrant yellow color and mild fragrance.  During the Vasant Panchami festival, India’s crop fields are filled with the color yellow, as the yellow mustard flowers bloom at this time of the year. Pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess Devi's feet to be blessed before they are used by students.

Public Life

Vasant Panchami is a public holiday. Government offices, schools, colleges do not operate on the day. However, at the same time, private offices are operational. Public transport also operates throughout the day but there is heavy traffic congestion during to processions at various places.

Background

The celebration of the Vasant Panchami is centered on the Hindu goddess Sarasvati. Sarasvati is the goddess of wisdom. She embodies the different facets of learning such as the sciences, arts, crafts and skills.  She is said to be calm and collected. She is often pictured seated on a lotus or a peacock, wearing a white dress.

Symbols

The Goddess Sarasvati is the goddess of intellect and learning. She has four hands which symbolize ego, intellect, alertness and the mind. She carries a lotus and scriptures in two of her hands and she plays music on the veena (an instrument similar to a sitar) with her other two hands. She rides on a white swan. Her white dress is a symbol for purity. Her swan signifies that people should have the ability to discern the good from the bad.

The goddess Sarasvati, sitting on a lotus, symbolizes her wisdom.  She is also well-versed in the experience of truth.  When the goddess is seen sitting on a peacock, it is a reminder that a strong ego can be held back by wisdom.

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