FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15: Schoolchildren tote textbooks for blessing, the young are taught their first words and the color yellow overwhelms India today, for the festival of Vasant Panchami. In honor of the Goddess of knowledge, Hindus believe Vasant Panchami celebrates the blessings of education.
It’s traditional for schools to perform pujas for this festival, in the hopes of earning the affections of Maa Saraswati—the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. (Wikipedia has details.) Yellow is the color of the key virtue of education. So, today, yellow-garbed pilgrims are seen along Indian streets, while yellow sweets are consumed in millions of homes.
VASANT PANCHAMI: A Spring Festival, Too
Literally the fifth day of spring in English, Vasant Panchami comes to India each year on the fifth day of the month of Magh. Following a cool winter, this festival celebrates the fledgling signs of spring: across the country, trees and crops are just beginning to flower. As with the transformative transition from winter to spring, devotees pray to Saraswati for enlightenment from lethargy and sluggishness, into the realm of knowledge. (Learn more at I Love India.) In Hindu mythology, Saraswati is seated on a white lotus, while four hands represent the different sides of human personality in learning; the goddess is often seen wearing a white silk scarf, in all of her serenity and tranquility.
POLICE MAKE LAST-MINUTE PREPARATIONS FOR VASANT PANCHAMI
Just as city workers and citizens recovered from hoards of pilgrims crowding the city at Mahakumbh mela, the Times of India reports that they are hurriedly preparing for another massive influx: this time, for Vasant Panchami. As of press time, police had yet to prepare a plan for the crowds that will be immersing idols of the Goddess Saraswati today.