Basant Panchami-A Festival Symbolizing Unity In Diversity

By: Garima Gaur, Asstt Editor-ICN 

LUCKNOW: India is a land of diverse culture and it’s festivals promote diversity. They are full of colours, enthusiasm, creativity and also offer opportunities to feel pride for the citizens.

One such festival is Vasant Panchami (also called Basant Panchami). This day welcomes the spring season, people wear yellow to mark blossoming mustard fields. It is celebrated on fifth day of Indian traditional calendar in the month of Magha, which typically falls in the Gregorian month of January and February.

It is celebrated in various ways depending on the region. Many people worship goddess Saraswati (goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom, learning, philosophy, creativity and nature) to pay her reverence as according to Hindu mythology goddess Saraswati was born on this day.

The festival signifies that knowledge is supreme, and prevails over ignorance.It is the best day according to Indian beliefs to start any new work, parents make their child to write for the first time, musical functions are organized. In few schools teachers and students worship Goddess Saraswati to attain wisdom.

People also start the preparation for Holika bonfire and Holi, which occurs forty days later.Few mark it as a festival of god Kama(god of love) celebrating it with spring flowers and by remembering the loved one. Few scholars have also marked this day as ‘Hindu Valentine’s Day).

According to the historians Aryans migrated India through Khyber pass after crossing Saraswati river. Since then worshipping goddess Saraswati became an Integral part of their life.

People fly kite , wear yellow clothes and eat yellow rice to imitate the yellow colour of mustard(sarson) flower fields.

Not only in India, even the Punjabi Muslims in and around Lahore also celebrate Basant Panchami in the form of kite flying sport.

In 12th century this Hindu festival was also adopted by some Indian Muslim Sufi’s to mark the grave of the Muslim Sufi saint Dargah of Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi and ever since has been observed by Chisti order.

This days is a remarkable example of cultural unity and diversity. People from three countries India, Pakistan and Nepal celebrate this festival with great zeal and enthusiasm which indicates that our ideologies and culture may differ but this festival keeps us united.