It is common knowledge that India is home to a number of festivals, each of which comes with its own traditions, customs and practices. There is also a lot of history and stories associated with most festivals, which make it all the more interesting. Spring is a major season in the country where fields are sown and flowers bloom after a long winter. And the arrival of this season is marked with Basant Panchami, which is celebrated with full enthusiasm in several states. While for those leaning towards agrarian roots it’s a cause for celebration of a new time and hope for crops. Many people also celebrate it as Saraswati Puja, where Saraswati, a major Hindu deity is worshipped. From the Basant Panchami 2021 date and time to all the stories and traditions surrounding it, take a deep dive to find out all there is about the festival before you go on to celebrate Vasant Panchami 2021.
The festival falls in February each year. As the festival this year, the given Vasant Panchami date is February 16th. It will be celebrated on a Tuesday. For paying respects and holding pujas, there are certain times that are given out according to astrological charts. This year, the calendar marks it from 06:59 AM to 12:35 PM. Scroll on to find out more about the traditions, customs, significance and importance of the festival.
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You may have wished a ‘Happy Basant Panchami’ to your close ones but do you know why we celebrate the spring festival? Let us tell you about it in detail. Vasant Panchami, also referred to as Basant Panchami festival, is celebrated across the Indian subcontinent and several other countries such as Nepal and Indonesia. The way it is celebrated varies depending on the region but the festival is primarily to celebrate the arrival of spring, which begins exactly 40 days after the day on which Vasant Panchami falls. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was given the title of ‘Sher-e-Punjab’ and was a ruler in the early 19th century, is said to have marked the festivities of Vasant Panchami by wearing yellow and holding fairs to celebrate the occasion. For farmers, the festival is also a time to celebrate the beginning of a new season where crops flourish. In several parts of India, people pay respects to Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu deity of knowledge and arts and the festival is referred to as Saraswati Puja. Other Hindu deities such as the Sun god, Shiva and Parvati are also revered in certain parts of the country. There are many versions of stories as answers to ‘why do we celebrate Basant Panchami’. As per some of them, it is because this was the day when Lord Brahma, who is termed as the ‘creator of the universe’ in Hindu mythology, created the earth and hence the festival is a way to celebrate it. Another story goes that after creating the earth, Lord Brahma decided to visit it to see how it functioned and all he saw were people living a mundane life. In order to insert some music into their lives, he created Goddess Saraswati, who would play the harp and later be known as the deity of arts and music. It is said that the Basant Panchami festival is hence marked as the birthdate of Goddess Saraswati and celebrated as Saraswati Puja in several parts of India.
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The Vasant Panchami date has a great significance in Hindu as well as Sikh cultures. In the former, it is a major day to pay regards to Goddess Saraswati, who amongst other things is regarded as a goddess of arts, culture, learning, music and education. In Sikh culture and for those who have agrarian roots, it marks as the arrival of spring where everything is new and the harvest is in plenty. Due to these reasons, it is celebrated with a mix of traditions and is one of the major festivals in India. Now that you have found out all about Vasant Panchami significance, read on for how the festival is celebrated across the country.
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What to do on Vasant Panchami will lead you to a lot of answers. Wearing yellow-coloured clothes is one of the most noticeable things about the festival. In the parts of the country where it is celebrated, people don yellow, mustard and similar hues to mark the festivities. As most Indian festivals, Vasant Panchami is celebrated amid family and loved ones, with food being a highlight. People mark the day by cooking, with some parts also referencing the colour yellow in their recipes. Kite-flying is a scene that is common and several areas hold competitions to ring in the festival with a cheer. Visiting temples to pay respects, organising pujas at home and holding get-togethers is also a part of the festivities. With Vasant Panchami 2021 approaching, it would be normal for fairs to also be held. For many people, they present as a way to gather, celebrate and enjoy with their loved ones. Song, dance and colour are a mainstay in the celebrations that are carried out across the country.
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Before you celebrate Vasant Panchami in 2021, let’s take a look at some lesser-known facts, traditions and customs that are associated with the spring festival across the country. Scroll ahead to take a look.
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-The tradition of kite flying is a long-followed one in Punjab, where Basant Panchami is marked with kite-flying competitions across the state. It is said that it was first introduced by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the erstwhile ruler of the area in the 19th century.
-The marriage of Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji is marked with a fair that takes place in Bilaspur during the same day as Basant Panchami each year.
-There is also a story associated with Kalidasa and Basant Panchami festival. It goes that the poet’s wife did not think highly of him and so he decided to end his life by jumping into a river. Before he could do it, Goddess Saraswati emerged and asked him to take a dip in the water instead. When Kalidasa did so, he found himself enriched with knowledge and since then, the Goddess came to be known as the deity of education and the arts.
-In Hindu culture in Indonesia, Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of the Balinese Calendar, which goes on for 210 days and is referred to as Hari Raya Saraswati, which translates to a ‘great day of Saraswati’.
-Basant Panchmi festival was also celebrated by some Indian Muslim Sufis back in the 12th century. Even today, it is celebrated at the Dargah of Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi.
-Celebrating your first Holi after your wedding? Basant Panchmi also has a link to the festival. It marks the arrival of Holi in 40 days and on the day of the festival, the Holika burns before Holi is set in place. On Vasant Panchmi, a log is kept and then for the coming days leading up to the ‘festival of colours’, more material is added to it.
-The festival is considered an auspicious occasion. In 1916, it was also when the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi was established by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.
-The day of Vasant Panchami is also amongst the six major holy bath days at the gatherings held in Prayag.
-In several parts of the country, books are worshipped on this day in reverence to Goddess Saraswati.
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From the reasons to stories behind the festival and traditions that are followed, that’s how Basant Panchami is celebrated across several states in India.
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