Significance of Basant Panchami
Basant Panchami is celebrated in honor of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning who bequeaths the greatest wealth to humanity, the wealth of knowledge. Mother Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma, the creator. The divine couple is together engaged in creating beings and putting in self-awareness and intelligence in the created beings.
Description of Goddess Saraswati
Hindu mythology describes Goddess 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.
Significance of Ma Saraswati’s form
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.
Prayer to Ma Saraswati
It is believed that Goddess Saraswati was born on this day. Students worship the goddess on this day. The prayer of Goddess goes thus, "Oh Mother Saraswati, we bow down in front of your benign and graceful form. Thou art the glow in a mesmerizing and radiant form. We begin the process of learning with Thy grace and blessings. You kindly remove the darkness (ignorance) of my mind and bless me with the eternal knowledge."
A festival for students
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 on Basant Panchami. Students keep their notebooks, pens and educational items near the statue of Goddess Saraswati and chant Ma Saraswati slokas to get her blessings. They distribute sweets among the devotees and share their joy of winning Ma Saraswati’s blessings.
According to another belief this festival is marked by the end of winter and welcoming of spring as 'Basant Ritu' means the spring season in Hindi. Pitru Tarpan (puja for departed souls) is performed and Brahmins are fed. Such acts done on Basant Panchami are believed to bless the performers and their families with long life, good health, progeny, wealth and happiness.
Nature is at its best during Besant Panchami
The god of love Kamadeva is also worshipped on this day. Basant Panchami falls in the spring season and the nature is at its best during this season. All around us we find flowers blooming and birds chirping. The nature is permeated by a cheerful mood and a lovely spirit. Yellow is the predominant color of the flowers blooming during the spring season.
The celebration of Basant Panchami and yellow color
'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 are especially prepared for this particular occasion.
Colour yellow is associated with the concept of Guru or Teacher
Colour yellow is deeply associated with teachers, wisdom and also auspiciousness. The other gods who are shown wearing yellow attire in Hinduism are Lord Dakshinamurti, Lord Dattatreya and Brihaspati or Guru (Jupiter). Notably, all these god forms are associated with imparting wisdom. Hence we find that associating yellow color with Mother Saraswati has got a deep significance of portraying Mother Saraswati as the Goddess of wisdom.