Basant Panchami is celebrated with great zeal and splendour across the country. The festival that ushers Spring has an important significance for India. It is the beginning of the harvest and a time of vitality. On this day, people honour Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, arts, and music.
The day falls on the Panchami Tithi, Magha Shukla Paksha (the fifth day of the waxing phase of the Moon in the Hindu month of Magh) and symbolizes the start of the spring season. On Basant Panchmi, the weather becomes sunny marking the end of Winter.
The festival is celebrated in unique ways across Indian states. The celebration also marks the beginning of the 40-day countdown to Holika or Holi, celebrated 40 days later.
We talked to many people in Delhi NCR to know about their memories of Basant Panchami-
Sonia Verma, 46, homemaker talks about the significance of this festival, "Sarasvati maa is Devi of all, and we have a great story behind this auspicious festival. It all started when Lord Brahma created the earth and provided a home for everything when he made it. Still, Brahma could sense that something was missing. After much consideration, he sprinkled some water from his palm from which a goddess emerged. In one hand, she held a 'Veena,' a string instrument, and in the other, a book. A garland was born in the third hand, while the fourth hand she blessed all."
She added, "Brahma God named the goddess Saraswati. Musical tones were formed as soon as Goddess Saraswati touched the strings of her Veena, giving rhythm and rhyme to everything in nature. It was Basant Panchami on that particular day. Since then, Goddess Saraswati has been worshipped".
Usually, I dress up all yellow on this day, go to my nearest temple, honour the Sarasvati maa with all the offerings, do some mantra chanting, and ask her to bless my family like she always does."
Piyush Arora, 31, a tuition teacher, says, "Being a teacher I want Sarvasti maa to bless my students with knowledge and wisdom. For me, Basant Panchmi is the most promising festival. I usually perform a havan and gather all my students around it to seek the blessings of Sarasvati maa. We wear yellow according to the occasion. It's a ritual that I and my students perform together on the day of Basant Panchmi".
Madhumita acharya Biswas, 50, founder of melody foundation Dwarka, has celebrated Basant Panchmi for several years now. On the day of Basant Panchmi, Melody Foundation is conducting a classical programme online. "Before Covid-19, the programs of Basant Panchmi used to be physical one-day celebration from morning to evening. This year, we will start with Raag songs dedicated to Sarasvati Maa and pooja to seek her blessings, and everybody has to wear yellow."
"All the artists from Dwarka will perform their rags and songs. There will be singing and dancing to celebrate this festival. Students of this academy will be joining online. They will take part in the various programme organized by the melody foundation as only the teachers and adults of the foundation will be present physically at the venue to conduct the classical programme." she added.
Shailesh Kumar from Dwarka,51, a classical singer has been celebrated Basant Panchmi since childhood. "When I was a child, on the day of the festival, we would put a Sarasvati idol with all the books and instruments around it and seek blessings of maa. In the evening, my friends would gather together to sing Basant Raag Bahaar. Basant Panchmi is the most auspicious festival for me, and being a classical singer, Sarasvati maa's blessing is all we need on this day."