The Hindu festival of ‘Basant Panchami’ celebrates the onset of spring season in India. Also known as ‘Shree Panchami’, the festival marks the end of winters. This year, Basant Panchami will fall on February 1. On this day, it’s customary for the Indians to wear yellow garments and cook yellow-coloured dishes like Meethe chawal (sweet rice), Boondi Laddu (yellow sweet) and Rasam (boiled lentils) etc.
Hindus seek blessings from Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom. In case you don’t know why Basant Panchami is celebrated in India, here’s why you do it!
10 Facts Related to Basant Pachami
- Basant Panchami is accompanied by Change in Seasons.
The word ‘Basant’ means ‘Spring’ and ‘Panchami’ means ‘Fifth’. It means, this festival falls on the fifth day of ‘Maagh’ month each year. The air is rejuvenated with fresh gentle breeze and sunny atmosphere. The snow-clad fields bloom with bright yellow fields and the maidens complement the sunny landscapes around them with their vibrant yellow dresses.
- Basant Panchami Honours Indian God of Fertility Kamadeva and his wife Rati.
According to Hindu mythology, Vasant Panchami is often associated with the Sringara Rasam that honours the romantic relationship between an individual and the Divine. The festival honours the bonding of Kamadeva with Rati.
- Yellow is the Colour of the Spring.
The elders often advice us to wear yellow coloured garments on Basant Panchami because yellow or ‘Basanti’ is the colour of spring. It symbolizes happy thoughts, optimism, prosperity, energy and light. This is why people cook yellow coloured delicacies and wear yellow clothes on this day.
- Basant Panchami is the Birthday of Goddess Saraswati.
This day celebrates the birth of Goddess Saraswati. In Hindu mythology, she’s regarded as the goddess of culture, art, music, education and knowledge. Therefore, the Indian temples offer scared offerings to the Goddess a day before Basant Panchami and seek her blessings for the traditional feast that is organised the next morning.
- Kids are taught how to Read and Write on this day.
Basant Panchami is an auspicious time to usher new beginnings in the field of academics. Traditionally, young children were taught how to read and write their first word on this day. Folks believe that the Goddess of Knowledge showers her blessings on the newbie.
- Housewives Cook Yellow Sweets to Celebrate this Festival.
The festival of Basant Panchami is incomplete without traditional sweets like Kesari Bhaat (yellow, flavoured rice offered to Lord Krishna), Kheer (rice pudding), Boondi and Malpua (sweet delicacies) that are offered to the guests and visitors that visit you on this day.
- Holi is Celebrated 40 Days after Basant Panchami.
On the day of Basant Panchami, people place a log on crossroads and intersections. An idol of Holika is placed on the logs. For next 40 days, people add twigs, waste materials and other combustible materials to form a big pyre that is lit on ‘Holika Dahan’.
The period of 30-40 days in between Basant Panchami and Holi corresponds with the penance experienced by Rati after Kamadeva’s demise. Legends state that Lord Kamadeva was reduced to ashes by Shiva when he shot his love arrows at Shiva.
- The people of Punjab fly Kites on Basant Panchami.
Kite flying is an important sport in India. While the people of Gujarat and Rajasthan fly kites in Rajasthan, the people of Punjab fly kites on Panchami because it’s bright and sunny outside. King Ranjit Singh of Punjab introduced this tradition two hundred years back. Ever since then, kite flying turned into an important festival in north India.
- Muslims Celebrate Basant Panchami on the Dargah of Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi.
Basant Panchami is not just the festival of Hindus but Muslims too. The history of this festival traces back to 12th Century. When Saint Nizamuddin Aulia lost his young nephew Taqiuddin Nooh, he withdrew himself from the society. Poet Amir Khusrau did everything to uplift his grief-stricken mood. One day, Khusrau saw some local women clad in yellow clothes and carrying bright flowers in a basket. This inculcated happy thoughts in his mind.
Khusrao did the same in Saint Nizamuddin’s case. He dressed up in yellow robes and took flowers to him. This instantly brought a smile on the saint’s face. Since then, the followers of Saint Nizamuddin celebrate Basant Panchami at his dargah in New Delhi.
- People observe Different Activities on Basant Panchami.
Basant Panchami is truly the festival of farmers. People in Indian villages worship mother nature and cherish their agricultural produce. They place heaps of cow dung to purify the soil in their fields. Ears of wheat and barley are tied to the entryway. People light up incense sticks and oil lamps in their homes and field as a gesture of thanks to the Goddess.
So, this is how the Indians celebrate this happy festival.