Celebrating the spirit of Vansant Panchami
It is that time of the year again, to look back in time and cherish some of our old traditions. It’s time to celebrate Vasant Panchami, one of the prominent festivals in the Indian culture. Vasant Panchami, as the name suggests, literally means the fifth day of the spring, and is therefore, celebrated on the fifth day of the spring in the Indian month of Magha. It marks the end of the winters and the arrival of the spring season. This day is also celebrated as ‘Shree Panchami’ or ‘Saraswati Pooja’ in different parts of India.
This occasion is symbolized and celebrated with the colour yellow, a colour that stands for brilliance of nature and vibrancy of life. From dresses to the decorations to the attire of the Goddess to the food preparations, all are dressed in vibrant yellow to celebrate the spirit of this season wishing prosperity, light, energy, optimism, generosity, wealth and success.
Goddess Saraswati, who personifies knowledge and wisdom, is the Hindu Goddess of the Vasant Panchami festival. It celebrates the birth of Goddess Saraswati. She represents two diverse aspects of life. While on one hand she is the ocean of knowledge, on the other hand she also represents the victory of wisdom over ego.
Goddess Saraswati, the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga, is depicted to be sitting on a blooming lotus and playing the Veena – a string instrument. Dressed in white attire with white flowers and pearls she symbolises purity – in both, behavior and knowledge. The Lotus on which she is seated represents the ocean of life that one has to face and can overcome only through the acquisition of true knowledge. Just like the Lotus while remaining in water all its life rises above its surface with grandeur, one has to not get incapacitated by the various obstacles and difficulties in life. The Veena denotes the music of life, i.e., our thoughts and actions have to be in sync with each other, thereby, bringing complete harmony in our lives. Thus, the depiction of Goddess Saraswati reminds us of all the essential ingredients that one needs for a complete, successful and harmonious life.
As the Goddess of knowledge, she epitomizes different aspects of learning and gaining knowledge including science, arts, craft, skills, etc. Therefore, it is believed that placing one’s pens, notebooks and other materials of learning and gaining knowledge at her feet before using them is like seeking her blessings before taking a journey on the path of knowledge. In olden days, it was believed to be auspicious to teach the first word to a child on Vasant Panchami as it was considered a blessed beginning in the life of a child in pursuit of knowledge. On this day, a number of programmes are held and this day is celebrated with great enthusiasm in schools, colleges, other educational institutions and organisations connected with children.
The second important aspect characterized by Goddess Saraswati is the victory of wisdom over ego. It is a well – known that Goddess Saraswati rides on a white swan. She also dresses in white. Both these personify purity, calmness, truth, intellect and the ability to determine the good from the bad. However, at times, she is seen sitting on a peacock. This reminds that a strong ego can be controlled or can be held back by the power of wisdom.
In addition, the festival of Vasant Panchami also sees the blooming of yellow mustard flowers across the fields. Some people also celebrate this day by flying kites as a mark of freedom and enjoyment.
Besides, special food is prepared to celebrate this festival. Sweets including Kesari Bhaat, Sweet Rice, Boondi Ke Laddoo, Kheer, Malpua and Mishti are offered to Goddess Saraswati. According to the popular belief, temples of Goddess Saraswati are packed with sacred offerings a day before, so that she joins in the celebrations by being a part of the traditional feast on the morning of Vasant Panchami.
So let’s get back in time and relive these old traditions and celebrate the birth of Goddess Saraswati with pomp and enthusiasm welcoming a new era of knowledge and wisdom in our lives. Let us all join together on this special day and pray to Goddess Saraswati to bless us all with the light of knowledge.