SATURDAY, JANUARY 28: Bright yellow hues welcome spring in India today, as Hindus wear yellow and worship the goddess of knowledge on Vasant Panchami.
Each year on the fifth day (Panchami) of the month of Magh, Hindus auspiciously begin new educational ventures, feed Brahmins, worship ancestors, and fly kites. I Love India has more.
The Goddess Saraswati plays a central role in Vasant Panchami; the consort of Lord Brahma earns devotion for her serene wisdom and ever-flowing knowledge. Visually, Saraswati is depicted seated on a white lotus, holding sacred scriptures in one hand and playing the music of love and life in her other hands. Saraswati has four hands to represent the four aspects of human learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. Wikipedia has details. Saraswati is sometimes shown riding on a goose, which reminds devotees that wisdom suppresses ego. Books are commonly stored beneath her idol.
Kite flying garners attention from all over India most any day of the year, but Vasant Panchami draws especially large crowds of kite flyers. This year, in another story about the festival, the Times of India reports that even political parties are competing for a kite symbol to represent them at election time.