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Basant Panchami (Saraswati Puja): Celebrating the Arrival of Spring

Basant Panchami is a festival that harmoniously combines mythology, spirituality, and cultural customs.

According to Vedic texts, Basant Panchami holds significance as an agricultural celebration, signifying the arrival of the spring season (Vasant). During this season, farmers worship Mother Earth in hopes of a plentiful harvest in the future. In addition to the religious rituals and mythological narratives connected to this lively festival, people also participate in cultural pursuits such as kite flying, symbolizing the joyous appreciation of nature’s beauty during the springtime.

Significance of Basant Panchami-

Basant Panchami signifies the transition from winter to spring, observed on the first day of the spring season. Additionally, it serves as a precursor to the arrangements made for Holi, which takes place forty days following Basant Panchami.

Basant Panchami, also known as Vasant Panchami, is a colorful festival observed throughout India. It holds great cultural importance and is closely tied to mythology and age-old Vedic customs. Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning, arts, music, and intelligence, is one of the principal figures linked to this celebration. Devotees honor her on this auspicious day by praying to her and asking for her blessings for success in their artistic and academic activities.

Mythological Stories Behind Basant Panchami-

As per ancient legends, Goddess Saraswati was brought into existence by Lord Brahma using his divine abilities. She is a symbol of enlightenment and purity. It is thought that she came down from heaven to bless people on the day of Basant Panchami.

Another captivating myth associated with Basant Panchami revolves around Kamadeva, the God of Love, and his wife Rati. According to ancient scriptures like the Rigveda and Puranas, Kamadeva’s love arrows disrupted Lord Shiva’s deep meditation, causing him to be turned to ashes by his fiery third eye. On Basant Panchami, Kamadeva was brought back to life by Lord Shiva due to Rati’s unshakable devotion to her husband.

This story represents the rebirth of love following a time of grief or separation. Because of this, a lot of people view Basant Panchami as a lucky time to propose marriage or express genuine feelings.

Saraswati Puja Rituals-

Devotees celebrate this occasion by performing the ritualistic worship of Goddess Saraswati between sunrise and midday, known as Purvahna Kala, according to Hindu customs.

Because white is the favorite color of Goddess Saraswati, devotees adore her with white clothing and flowers. As a part of the religious offering, Prasad (Bhog) is prepared using white sesame seeds, and milk sweets are presented to her, later to be shared among the deities.

In the northern part of India, Basanti or yellow color is viewed as a symbol of purity, piety, and favorability for prosperity, light, energy, and positivity. Hence, individuals offer yellow flowers to the goddess, especially mustard or marigold flowers, which signify the arrival of spring.

Similarly, the offerings made to the goddess include yellow edibles such as Besan and Motichoor Laddoo, Meethe Chawal, Kesaria Kheer, Rajbhog, and Khichdi. Although many fruits are offered to her as well, Ber or Jujube is thought to be her favorite.

Saraswati Vandana-

Saraswati-Pujaया कुन्देन्दु तुषार हारधवला, या शुभ्र वस्त्रावृता,
या वीणावर दण्ड मण्डित करा, या श्वेत पद्मासना।
या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकर प्रभृतिभिर् देवै सदा वन्दिता,
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेष जाड्यापहा॥

शुक्लां ब्रह्मविचार सार परमां आद्यां जगद्व्यापिनीं,
वीणा-पुस्तक-धारिणीम् अभयदां जाड्यान्धकारापहाम्।
हस्ते स्फटिक मालिकां विदधतीं पद्मासने संस्थिताम्,
वन्दे तां परमेश्वरीं भगवतीं बुद्धिप्रदां शारदाम्॥

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