Basant Panchami is a popular Hindu festival dedicated to goddess Saraswati, who is the deity of knowledge, art and music. This day falls on the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magh, which is also the first day of spring. Goddess Saraswati denotes serenity and calmness. She is generally shown seated on a white lotus, wearing a pure white silk sari and holding a book in her lower left hand. The eyes of the goddess are full of compassion. Her four hands denote four facets of human personality namely mind, intellect, alertness and ego. The lotus on her hand symbolizes true knowledge. Her ride is a white swan which is known for its peculiar capability of separating water from the milk. The swan indicates that we should have the ability to discriminate the bad from the good.
Basant Panchami, also known as the Saraswati Day, is celebrated by the Hindus across the world with great enthusiasm and festivities. The devotees visit temples which are filled with various types of religious activities. Yellow color is given prominence on this day and people dress up in yellow garments and perform rituals. Yellow represents spiritual knowledge, increasing the significance of the festival. People eat yellow sweets and distribute the same among friends and relatives. 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. On this day, schools and colleges organize special worships for goddess Saraswati. Traditionally children place their books on the altar, at the goddess’s feet. No one is allowed to touch the books during this period as they believe that goddess Saraswati is blessing the books.
Devotees believe that worshipping of goddess Saraswati will lead to spiritual enlightenment. It is generally said that there is no comparison between a king and a learned person as the king is honored only in his land but a learned person is respected everywhere. Saintly and learned people who are inclined towards spirituality know the importance of worshipping goddess Saraswati. Other activities performed on this day include worshipping of Kamadeva, the God of Love. On this occasion, people offers prayers to the Sun God and the deities associated with Ganges. The festivities of Basant Panchami include kite flying and a kite festival is observed in Ferozepur, Punjab. Basant Panchami marks the arrival of spring and can be noted from the colored blooms in trees and crops. This is the period when mango flowers start blossoming on trees, representing the beginning of a new life. Basant Panchami spiritually signifies that the days of ignorance and gloom are over and the period of joy and spiritual awakening has begun.