In the Hindu culture various seasons are also given great importance in the community. Vasant Panchami, the festival celebrated on the fifth day of Magha, is celebrated in different ways by different names across the country. It is referred to as Saraswati Puja or Shree Panchami in most parts of India. It is referred to as Sufi Basant in the Sufi Shrines and Basant Panchami in the Punjab region. It is the harvest festival in Bihar. Though the festival is celebrated across India but the rituals differ according to locality.
The story behind:
If you refer to ancient Hindu literature, you will find this festival to be associated with Shringar Rasamand. The celebrations of this festival till date honor Kamadeva, his wife Rati and his friend Vasant, the personification of spring. In the ancient times, this festival was oriented towards Kamadeva, and the dancing girls. The dancing girls would wear specific Vasanti clothes made for this occasion.
This festival sets in motion the Spring season, and heralds the festival of Holi. According to the legend, the 40 day penance of Rati for her husband is what you today celebrate as the 40 day interval between Spring and Holi. The legend says Kamadeva once shot the eye of Shiva with his love arrows, and was reduced to ashes. The duration between Vasant Panchami and Holi is the time when the faithful twigs and other combustible material is collected for the pyre.
In some places, it is celebrated as the Saraswati Puja. It is believed that Goddess Saraswati was born on this day, and this day is celebrated on a massive scale across schools and colleges. The Goddess is made to wear white clothes, which symbolizes her, on this day. Another custom “Pitru Tarpan” is also observed on this day. In MP, UP and Chattisgarh, this day is associated with Lord Shiva, and people worship him by offering him mango flowers. For others, it is associated with the Sun God, or Lord Vishnu.
Vasant Panchami is celebrated across India with different names, associations and versions.