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The festival of Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the 5th day of Krishna Paksh in the month of Magh. This day is considered as Annbhuj Muhurth. This marks the beginning of occasions and events without referring to the Panchaang (auspicious Hindu calendar).

On this day, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped. This day is of special significance for the students as they place their books at the feet of the Goddess seeking wisdom and blessings.

Saraswati puja is performed by offering roli, moli, yellow flowers, gulal, fruits, yellow-coloured sweets (sohanpapdi sweet made with besan).

Shri Krishna is considered Adi Devtaa of this festival, so the festival is celebrated with great fervour in Vrindavan.
  
People celebrate Vasant Panchami by wearing clothes in various shades of yellow colour. This is in keeping with the prevalent colour of nature at this time when yellow sarson flowers and marigold are in bloom.

In the puja room the deities are dressed in yellow colour and yellow coloured sweet rice is made at home. Also religious songs are performed on the occasion.
 

Puja rituals:


  • The idol is in white, symbolizing purity. The sari of the Deity is white or yellow dyed in the natural dye made from "Shiuli" flowers.
  • The place where Saraswati is seated is all decorated with fresh flowers and rangoli and the design of a fish is considered auspicious.
  • A flat low stool made of wood is covered with yellow cloth and the idol is placed on it, facing towards the east.
  • The face of the idol remains covered till the priest begins chanting of mantras at   the commencement of puja.
  • A green coconut is placed in an earthen pot with a red checked cotton cloth called "Gamocha".
  • Besides the actual puja flowers there are also the most significant flower called Palash that is used in the ceremony.
  • Students place their books and pen in front of the goddess to seek blessings on this auspicious day.
  • The offerings made to the goddess consist of fruits- most significant are berries from the wild plum tree. Other fruits include tapioca. Sweets must include puffed rice, jaggery and yogurt.
  • Family members bathe early and dress in yellow attire before assembling in front of the Goddess.
  • The earthen pot is tied with a string which is untied on the next day by the priest before visarjan or the immersion ceremony.
  • A havan is done by the priest using special wood, ghee, joss sticks and incense. A diya or lamp is lit beside the prasad.
  • Aarti is performed by the priest twice in day, in the morning and then again in the evening.
  • Nobody touches books on that day as it is believed that the goddess is blessing the books.

Other rituals:


  • All devotees consume only vegetarian food on this day.
  • The youngest girl of the family wears a yellow coloured saree and this custom is generally followed in Bengal.
  • An infant is asked to write for the first time, the alphabets given by the priest. It signifies that the first step is being taken in the acquisition of knowledge.
  • The string on the earthen pot is then untied on the second day and it signifies the end of the puja.
  • Yogurt, Khoi (puffed rice) and bananas are offered to the goddess as she departs.
  • Visarjan is act of floating or sinking  the idol in a nearby river or pond. While some people keep the idol in the family puja room for a year till the next Saraswati Puja.

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