Basant Panchami or as some say Vasant Panchami is being celebrated on the fifth day (Panchami Tithi) of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu month Maagha. Basant means spring while Panchami means "the fifth day". The auspicious day, which marks the beginning of the spring season (Vasant Ritu), is also celebrated as Saraswati Pujo in North Indian states, especially in Bengal. Devotees worship their beloved deity Saraswati to gain success in the arena of education, music and art. This year Basant Panchami will be celebrated on Sunday, February 10, 2019.
Vasant Panchami is also known as Shri Panchami and Saraswati Panchami. Although there is no particular time to perform the Puja on Vasant Panchami day, one should make sure that Puja is done when Panchami Tithi is prevailing. Experts suggest that the Saraswati Puja should be performed during Purvahna Kala - the time between the sunrise and the midday.
According to drikpanchang.com, Vasant Panchami Puja Muhurta will last 15 minutes from 12:26 pm to 12:41 pm. The Panchami Tithi Begins at 12:25 on February 9 and will end at 2:08 pm on February 10.
Saraswati Ya Kundendu is the most famous Stuti dedicated to Goddess Saraswati and part of the famous Saraswati Stotram. It is recited during Saraswati Puja on the eve of Vasant Panchami.
It is considered auspicious if children worship Maa Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. People feed Brahmans on this occasion and also perform Pitra-Tarpan, the traditional ancestral worship. Basant Panchami is the day when children are taught their first words, making it an auspicious occasion which marks the beginning of their learning process.
Different ways to celebrate Basant Panchami or Saraswati Puja all over India:
The festival is mostly celebrated in educational institutes across the country and girls drape themselves in yellow sarees while boys wear ethnic attires in yellow. Schools and colleges also organise various cultural programmes to mark the day.
Moreover, people from different cultures celebrate Saraswati Puja in different ways across the country. While in West Bengal this day is kindred with the emotions of love and emotional anticipation, devotees in Punjab enjoy the day by flying kites on their rooftops. Rajasthanis wear jasmine garlands on the occasion of Saraswati Puja.
In Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, people seek blessings from Shiva and Parvati. They also offer mango flowers and wheat during the puja. Devotees will also observe the third "shaahi snaan" of the ongoing Kumbh on Basant Panchami during which they are expected to take a holy dip in the River Ganga, Yamuna or Saraswati.
Like all other Indian festivals, food is an important part of Saraswati Puja. People love to indulge in special food and prepare festive yellow dishes like sweet saffron rice, kesari sheera, boondi ke ladoo, rajbhog, khichdi and many others.