Basant Panchami and Saraswati Puja : 4th Feb'14

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As per Hindu Alamanac, Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Magh Shukl or brighter day of lunar month. This year it is being celebrated on 4th February 2014. It is also known by the name Vasant or Shree panchami.

Goddess Saraswati- A Glimpse

Hindu mythology depicts Saraswati as a pristine lady bedecked with white attire, white flowers and white pearls, sitting on a white lotus, which blooms in a wide stretch of water. The Goddess also holds Veena, a string-instrument, like Sitar, for playing music. The prayer of Saraswati finally concludes as, "Oh Mother Saraswati remove the darkness (ignorance) of my mind and bless me with the eternal knowledge."

The four arms of Goddess Saraswati represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego.

She rides on a white goose (swan). The swan is known for its peculiar characteristic of separating water from milk, indicating that one should possess clear vision and knowledge to discriminate between good and evil.

Significance of the day

This festival is celebrated to honor the Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning who bequeaths the greatest wealth to humanity, the wealth of knowledge. Further it is believed that Goddess Saraswati was born on this day.

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped by students on this day. Children are taught reading and writing their first words on this day - as it is considered an auspicious day to begin a child's education Students keep their notebooks, pens and educational items near the statue of Goddess Saraswati and distribute sweets among the devotees.

According to another belief this festival is marked by end of winter and welcoming of spring as 'Basant Ritu' means the spring season in Hindi.

Pitr-tarpan (puja for departed soul) is performed and Brahmins are fed

The god of love Kamadeva is also worshipped on this day

The celebrations-

'Yellow' is the dominant color of this festival as it signifies the ripening of fruits and crops. The mustard fields in North India blooms during this season giving a yellow coat to nature.

People wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers to Goddess and put a yellow, turmeric tilak on their forehead. They visit temples and offer prayers to various gods. New clothes are purchased for this festival and many delicious dishes prepared for this particular occasion.

Kite Flying is the major activity associated with this festive.

Soon the three started harassing the Gods. The Gods then approached Lord Shiva requesting him for resque. Lord Shiva danced the “Tandava”, the dance of destruction, that rocked the three cities. He shot an arrow piercing through the three cities at one time and the fire from his third eye burnt the three cities. The killing of the three demons spread happiness around the world. This form of Shiva is called “Tripuraari or Tripurantaka”.

It is believed Puja, snan or Daan on Kartik Purnima is equivalent to 100 Ashvamedha Yagyas. Good deeds on this day leads the individual toward the way of salvation. Apart from these, such pious deeds bring the devotee closer to supreme power to beget blessings of good health as well as wealth. 
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