Vasant Panchami

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  Date of Observance:  Fifth day of waxing moon of Magh



Hinduism is a way of life rather than a religion. The people practicing Hinduism have firm faith on Gods and Intro_saraswati.jpgGoddesses whom they worshiped on various occasions by performing Puja and rituals. Vasant Panchami is a festival that worships Goddess Saraswati as well as it signifies the beginning of Vasant Ritu (spring season).

Magh Sud 5 (5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magh – falls usually in the month of January or February) is the day of Vasant Panchami and is also celebrated as Shree Panchami or Saraswati Puja in West Bengal and few other parts of Orissa.

On this day Goddess Saraswati is worshipped in various names and fames - the Goddess of Learning, the deity of Gayatri, the fountain of fine arts and science, and the symbol of supreme vedantic knowledge.

The image of Goddess Saraswati depicts her sitting on a vehicle that symbolizes her supreme power. The white swan of Saraswati symbolizes Satwa Guna (purity and discrimination), the lotus of Lakshmi the Rajas Guna and the tiger of Durga the Tamas Guna. Saraswati is shown possessing four hands and plays "Veena", an Indian string musical instrument.

Vasant Panchami or Saraswati Puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm and Hindu temples and households are full of activity on this day. This is also a special day for school children as they observe it with great reverence.



The festival of Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the 5th day of Krishna Paksh in the month of Magh.
This day is considered as Annbhuj Muhurth. On this day, marriages and auspicious ceremonies can be performed without reference to the Panchaang (auspicious Hindu calendar).

On this day, Saraswati Devi is worshipped. This day is of special significance for the students. They place their books at the feet of Devi seeking wisdom and blessings.
Saraswati Devi puja is performed by offering roli, moli, yellow flowers, gulal, fruits, yellow-coloured sweets (sohanpapdi sweet made with besan).
Shri Krishna is considered Adi Devtaa of this festival, so the festival is celebrated with great fervour in Vrindavan.

People celebrate Basant Panchami by wearing clothes in various shades of yellow colour. This is in keeping with the prevalent colour of nature at this time when yellow sarson flowers and marigold are in bloom.

In the puja room the deities are dressed in yellow colour.
Yellow—coloured sweet rice is made at home.

Deepak is lit.

Aarti of Saraswati Mata is performed.

Aarti karu Saraswati Matu……
Yakundendu tushar haar dhavala……………….

Puja rituals:

# The idol is in white, symbolizing purity. The sari of the Deity is white or yellow dyed in the natural dye made from "Shiuli" flowers.
# The place where the idol is kept for the puja is decorated with Rangoli and the design of a fish is considered auspicious.
# A flat low stool made of wood is covered with yellow cloth and the idol is placed on it, facing East.
# Then, the face of the idol remains covered till the priest begins chanting the mantras at the commencement of the puja.
# A green coconut is placed on an earthen pot with a red checked cotton cloth called "Gamocha".
# The actual puja flowers are used but the most significant is the Palash or flame of the forest and marigold flowers.
# Students place their books and pen in front of the goddess seeking blessings.
# The offerings to the goddess are mainly fruits--most significant are Berries from the wild plum tree. Other fruits include tapioca. Sweets must include puffed rice, jaggery and yogurt.
# Family members bathe early and dress in yellow attire and assemble in front of the Goddess.
# The earthen pot is tied with a string which will be untied only on the next day by the priest before Bisarjan or the immersion ceremony.
# A havanis done by the priest using special wood, ghee, joss sticks and incense.There absence of a burnt smell signifies the success of the puja. A diya or lamp is also kept lit along with the prasad.
# A handful of flowers particularly marigolds and flame of the forest is given to each devotee to offer to the goddess as "pushpanjali". The offering is done in batches of devotees who repeat mantras after the priest.
# Arati is performed by the priest in the morning and again in the evening. This is done while chanting Sanskrit slokas and accompanied by the blowing of conch shells and the beating of drums.
# The lit lamp used during the Arati is passed around for each devotee to warm his/ her hand and touch their heads.
# Nobody touches books on that day. This signifies that the goddess is blessing the books placed in front of her.

Other rituals:

* All devotees take vegetarian food this day to remain pure.

* The smallest girl of the family has to wear a yellow coloured saree as a custom. This ritual is usually observed in Bengal.

* An infant is asked to write for the first time, the alphabets by the priest.It signifies the first step being taken in the acquisition of Knowledge.

* The next day the children take back their books but stand before the goddess and read from them or write in them.

* The string on the earthen pot is untied and it signifies the end of the puja.

* Yogurt, Khoi (puffed rice) and bananas are offered to the goddess as she departs.

* Bisarjan is act of floating/ sinking of the idol in a nearby river or pond.Alternatively the deity remains in the family puja room for a year till the next Saraswati Puja.











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