Basant panchami

Basant panchami-Bihar
Magh Basant panchami is one of the Jharkhand temple festivals and the Kolhaiya Mela in Chatra is held during this festival. The probable year of this festival`s commencement is 1925. Kolhaiya Mela is held on Magh Basant panchami and is principally, cattle fair. Tutilawa Mela in Simaria started in 1935 and is principally a cattle fair held on Falgun Purnima; the offerings are done to the deities in the temples. Aghan Purnima is another Jharkhand temple festival and Lawalong mela is associated to its celebration since 1880.  

A festival not only gives a welcome break but also adds colors to our life. Basant Panchami is the festival celebrating spring season which comes accompanied by a huge variety of flowers presenting a riot of colors to the environment. Basant Panchami is also referred to as Sripanchami. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped all over India on the occasion of Basant Panchami. One is supposed to wear yellow cotton clothes, eat yellow food like Turmeric cooked with Rice or Saffron Semolina Pudding. People also put yellow tilaks on their foreheads to welcome the spring season.

Basant Panchami, the fifth day of spring, is celebrated by propitiating Goddess Saraswati. As she symbolises the constant flow of wisdom, she also represents the full blossoming of multi-hued Nature, kindling the light of inspiration and hope. During the eight phases of the day, Saraswati manifests through everyone’s speech at least once. Each one of us has experienced sometimes that what has been uttered by someone — even casually — has come true. Engrossed as we are in the material world, we are unable to understand it.It is possible to attain this state where one’s speech is consistently governed by Kamalasana or the One who is seated on a thousand-petalled lotus — each petal denoting a particular quality.

Saraswati’s vahan or vehicle is the hans or swan. The swan has the ability to hold the mix of water and milk in its beak and spew out pure water from one side and milk from the other side. This is known as neer-kshir vivek or the water-milk wisdom in Indian philosophy. A wise person is one, who, like the swan, picks out pearls of wisdom from a vast spread of knowledge.

Basant Panchami heralds the beginning of spring. Cool lingering breeze replaces the cold harsh winter and there is a touch of rejuvenation and joy in the air. The buds of leaves and flowers come into full bloom. Girls in different shades of yellow dresses enhance the beauty of nature on the day of Basant Panchami. Kite flying, a popular sport in India, is associated with the Basant Panchami day. It is a day for the students – no studies, only merry making. Basant means spring and Panchami is the fifth day of the fortnight of waxing moon (Shukla Paksha) in the month of January-February of English calendar (Magh). This year, the Basant Panchami falls on the 29th of January.

The day of Basant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati. It is not a national holiday in India but the schools are closed and the students participate in decoration and arrangement of the worship place. A few weeks before the celebration, schools become active in organizing various annual competitions of music, debate, sports and other activities. Prizes are distributed on the day of Basant Panchami. Many schools organize cultural activities in the evening of the Saraswati Puja day when parents and other community members attend the functions to encourage the children.
Time(indian calendar Tithi):
Best time to visit: The festival lies in the month of January-February.
Bihar climate in general is tropical with hot summers and cold winters. There are regional variations. Some parts of the state like Ranchi,Netarhat, and Parasnath have pleasant climate even during the summers. Maximum rainfall takes place during the months from July to September accounting for more than 90% of total rainfall in the state.
‘Since the Vasant festival (utsav) starts from the fifth day (panchami) in the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh, that day is called Vasant panchami. The objective of celebrating this festival is to rejoice over and to enjoy the Bliss from the new found divine consciousness (chaitanya) and new creation in Nature. It is also said that Madan, the deity of sex was born on this day. People used to ritualistically worship and pray to Madan and Rati (His wife) for a happy married life. On this day ears of grain of the new harvest are offered to the deity at home and are eaten as new grains (navanna). Since the deity Sarasvati was created on this day, She too is worshipped. It is also considered as the birthday of the deity Lakshmi. Hence this day is also called Shripanchami.’
Importance of festival:
The festival of Basant Panchami also marks the beginning of Holi Baithaks. Basant Panchami is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar in the month of Magh. It usually falls in late January or early February. People worship Goddess Saraswati, goddess of intelligence, wisdom and arts. They teach first words to their children and keep their books, notebooks, pens etc near the foot of Ma Saraswati’s idol for her blessings. People fly kites and have various competitions for the same.  

The festival of Basant Panchami is dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom. According to the Hindu mythology, the goddess symbolizes constant flow of knowledge and wisdom. Vasant Panchami is also believed as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati. The spring festival of Basant Panchami is especially celebrated in the institutions of learning. As Saraswati is the goddess of learning, Students observe the blessings from Maa Saraswati. Spring is the season when crops are fully bloomed, so people also celebrate this occasion by flying kites.
Method of Celebration:
The Dances and Fair:
The people welcome spring or Basant singing and dancing. The atmosphere resounds with the jingles of the pounding drums. Chounphula and Jhumelia dances are performed on the occasion of Basant Panchami by them. A fair At Rishikesh in Uttaranchal is held within the grounds of the Bharat temple on the occasion of Vasant Panchami. An extremely grand procession of the idol of Lord Bharat is carried through the town demonstrating lots of pomp and splendor. This idol was installed in the temple on this day by Jagat Guru Shankaracharya.  

The “Prasadam” for the Goddess at the time of Basant Panchami celebrations varies from community to community. Some offers “Ber”/- a fruit, that is found in abundance in Northern and Eastern India, or “Sangari”- a kind of bean that grows on the roots of the radish plant.

The mythological history of Sarasvati associates her with the holy rituals performed on the banks of the river Sarasvati. She is worshipped as a goddess of speech, attributed to the formation of (words), invention of Sanskrit language and composition of hymns. There are various rituals that are followed in the worshipping of goddess Saraswati. The ones common to all those worshipping Saraswati are that the idol of the goddess is clothed in white, the other predominant colour in the celebrations is yellow, to indicate the onset of spring and the blossoming of mustard flowers. Flowers and wild berries are offered to the goddess and students place their books before the deity and do not do any reading or writing that day. An elaborate puja, with sandalwood, ghee, joss sticks, and incense is done to the sound of shlokas, conch shells, and drums. A ritual not connected to the worship but equally essential to the celebration is that of flying kites on this day.

The day of Basant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati. Sarasvati is the goddess of learning who bequeaths the greatest wealth to humanity, the wealth of knowledge. Hindu mythology depicts Sarasvati 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. The prayer of Sarasvati finally concludes as, “Oh Mother Sarasvati remove the darkness (ignorance) of my mind and bless me with the eternal knowledge.”
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Culture of festivities:
The festival is celebrated with full vivacity and festivity to mark the end of the winters. It is one of the first festivals of the Year and is c