Bengaluru, Feb 16 (UITV): Basant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati- the goddess of knowledge. It is celebrated in the month of Magha according to the Hindu calendar. On Basant Panchami, Saraswati Puja is observed especially among students, professionals, artists, and musicians. Basant Panchami is also known as Shri Panchami as well as Saraswati Puja especially in West Bengal and Assam. Saraswati Puja is also performed during the Sharad Navratri, in some states of south india. It is called ‘Vidyarambham’ in Kerala and Karnataka. The day is noted for Vidhya Arambha or the ritual of introducing young children to the world of books and learning.
There is a heritage of worshipping books, items releted to arts and musical instruments on Saraswati Puja, specially in West Bengal. Saraswati Puja is very much common in schools and colleges also performed by people at homes across the state.
Basant Panchami is on February 16. It is observed during ‘Shukla Paksha’ or the Full Moon fortnight in Magha. The muhurat or auspicious time for Saraswati Puja is from 6:59 AM to 12:35 PM. The Panchami Tithi begins at 3:36 AM tomorrow and ends at 5:46 AM on February 17.
Both young and old take part with great curiosity and fervour in Saraswati Puja. It is held that Goddess Saraswati was born on this day and hence many people refer to the day as Saraswati Jayanti.
Yellow and white are the preferred colours of Devi Saraswati. The divine deity is always seen in white or yellow saree and decorated with flowers of the same colour, generally marigold. On Saraswati Puja, people make milk-based sweets and khichidi (a dish made of rice and pulses). Sweets, fruits and khichidi are offered to the goddess as bhog first and then distributed as prasad among friends and family members.
Basant Panchami is noted for the beginning of Holi festivities in Brij Bhoomi. On this day, temples in Mathura and Vrindavan are decorated with yellow flowers. The idols are also decorated with yellow dresses to welcome the coming of the cheerful spring season.