Vasant Panchami is an important Hindu festival. Vasant Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Indian month of Magh (spring season, January to February) The importance of the day lies in the worship of Goddess Saraswati, symbol of wisdom and also the onset of spring season.
The color yellow is the predominant color associated with 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, 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.
Kite flying is also associated with this festival. Children as well as adults fly kites on this day to celebrate freedom and enjoyment.
Another tradition associated with this day is that of initiating studies in the young. Young children often begin learning on this day, Pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess Devi’s feet to be blessed before they are used by students. Sweets with a yellow hue are also distributed on this day and people can also be seen donating books and other literary material to the poor.
In modern times, however, Vasant Panchami day is more commonly associated with Maa Saraswati. 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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