Basant Panchami 2016 (also known as Saraswati Puja 2016) is on February 12. This glorious day remarks the birthday of Hindu Goddess Saraswati. Vasant Panchami in 2016 is the day to show gratitude toward the beautiful Goddess for blessing us with immense knowledge & welcome the spring season.
The auspicious event of Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami is observed every year on the fifth day of the bright half of Hindu lunar month of Magha, which comes around the months of January and February.
Did you notice that we are using two terms for one festival (Saraswati Puja & Basant Panchami)? Yes, this festival is recognized with two different names. We will tell you, why.
Saraswati Puja means worshiping Goddess Saraswati . As the day signifies the birthday of Goddess Saraswati, it is designated as Saraswati Puja. Now, the question comes why it is also known as Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami. It is because the day also marks the commencement of the spring season, which is known as Basant or Vasant in Sanskrit. Basant (the spring season) is the time when flowers of the mustard crop bloom, which are yellow in color.
It is strongly believed that Goddess Saraswati was born on the day of Basant Panchami. White is believed to be the favorite color of Goddess Saraswati. That’s why her idol is adorned with white clothes and white lotus.
At the time of Vasant Panchami celebration, devotees offer sweets to the Goddess. After that, these sweets are distributed among the devotees as ‘Prasad’ (holy food). On the day of Vasant Panchami, the other custom followed by the devotees is worshiping the ancestors. This Pooja (prayer) is named as ‘Pitri-Tarpan’.
Festival of Saraswati Puja marks the beginning of spring season, it is the time when mustard fields bloom. The mustard plant has yellow color flowers, which makes the mustard field look yellow. Hence, people wear yellow color and cook yellow food to welcome the spring season and the blooming of mustard fields.
Saraswati Puja is considered quite auspicious to get started with laying down the foundation for learning, as it is the day of the ‘Goddess of Education’. Children in pre-school are acknowledged with the first lesson regarding education (reading and writing) on this auspicious day.
All the Hindu learning centers conduct prayer for Goddess Saraswati on this auspicious occasion. This event is also considered as a perfect day for the commencement of new schools and training institutes. This is a movement made popular by a well-known Indian educationist, ‘Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya’. He established a University on the day of Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami in the year 1916.
The below mentioned Saraswati Mantra is recited on the day of Saraswati Puja. Recite Saraswati Mantra on Saraswati Puja 2016, while worshipping Saraswati Yantra and be blessed!
Om Saraswati Mahabhagey, Vidye Kamala Lochaney |
Viswarupey Vishalakshmi, Vidyam Dehi Namohastutey ||
Jaya Jaya Devi, Charachara Sharey, Kuchayuga Shobhita, Mukta Haarey |
Vina Ranjita, Pustaka Hastey, Bhagavati Bharati Devi Namohastutey ||
On the occasion of Basant Panchami, beginning of spring can be easily felt in the air, as the season goes through a pleasant change. Fresh leaves and flowers show up on the trees with the guarantee of a new life and expectation. The festival of Vasant Panchami also declares the arrival of the next big springtime occasion of colors ( Holi ) for the Hindus.
According to the Vedas, Goddess Saraswati is considered as a water deity. She is respected for fertilizing, purifying and elevating the powers. Further, Goddess Saraswati's mythological history includes her recognition with holy practices that are mostly observed on the coast of Saraswati river. It is believed that this deity has given birth to Sanskrit, which is recognized as the mother of all languages of scholarship and scriptures.
Many mythological stories are associated with the birth of Goddess Saraswati. One of them says that Goddess Saraswati emerged from the forehead of Lord Brahma. Her beauty enchanted him so much that he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. She felt uncomfortable and tried to escape. Whichever direction she flew, he grew a head in that direction. Hence, he got 5 heads. Ultimately, no escape left for her and they both got married despite of the divine objection.
One legend also describes that Lord Brahma once decided to sit in meditation with the aim of creating universe. As a result of this process, his body got divided into 2 parts. Out of which, one became Goddess Saraswati.
Similarly, there are many mythologies and beliefs associated with the birth of the Goddess Saraswati.
On the day of Vasant Panchami, which is also known as Saraswati Puja, all the devotees pray to get the blessings of Goddess Saraswati and also to achieve success in arts, crafts, and learning. Throughout the nation, Saraswati Puja is observed in all the educational institutions and homes as well. In all learning centers for music, arts and sciences, Saraswati Puja is observed with great respect.
On the day of Saraswati Puja, the idol of Goddess Saraswati is adorned with white clothes, which signifies purity. The place where the idol of Goddess Saraswati is placed to worship, is embellished by making Rangoli (design made with colors on the floor). As per beliefs, it is considered lucky to include the image of a fish in the prayer process.
At the time of Puja, a small sized wooden stool is wrapped in a yellow colored cloth. After that, the idol of Goddess Saraswati is placed on that stool and is made to face the east direction. The face of the idol is kept covered until the chanting of Mantras is commenced by the priest.
If you wish to make your Puja more special and feel closer to the Goddess to seek some additional blessings, worship her with Saraswati Yantra.
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The festival of Basant Panchami is believed to be extremely fortunate. We hope this article will help you with all the required information about Basant Panchami. Celebrate Saraswati Puja in 2016 to get the blessings of the ‘Goddess of Wisdom’; and cherish the fun of the day by flying kites on Basant Panchami.