Vasant Panchami, the first day of spring, is observed as the day of birth of the goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, technology and destiny. The day is all about prosperity, energy, and enlightenment and to get rid of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance.
This is the day when the color yellow, also called ‘basanti’, signifies the arrival of spring. Traditionally, yellow depicts the revival of positive energy in life, and nature as well; it’s about celebrating the positivity that spring brings with it.
Mostly a north Indian festival, Vasant Panchami has a lot more stored in this special occasion. Incidentally, it is quite different from the way it’s celebrated in other parts of the country. In Bengal Saraswati puja is celebrated with sense of hope, and of course with the delicious food that is cooked in different communities all over the state. The day is also named as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham or Hathe-Khori because on this day there is a ritual of initiating education for infants. Educational institutes like Schools, Colleges, Universities and cultural institutes arrange puja in the morning to seek blessing of the Goddess.
In Punjab the day is celebrated as ‘kite flying’ festival, and in Bihar the day is celebrated as ‘harvest festival’. In UP, Vasant Panchami is celebrated by offering prayers to Lord Krishna with sheera or kesar halwa and in Karnataka, the same is observed with Kesari Bath, a desert, typically cooked with semolina, almonds, raisins, cashews, cardamom powder, nutmeg, saffron, some yellow food color (if necessary), and ghee and is served among devotees as prasad of Lord Krishna.
As the puja’s tithi or cosmic timing generally falls a day before the universal day of love i.e., Valentines Day so the essence of love enshrouds the atmosphere even before the day has actually arrived. Fashion of wearing yellow sharees especially, for the occasion, is very common among the teenagers and school & college students as well as teachers and married women. Apart from India, now a days Saraswati Puja is celebrated in every corner of the world. Students of Indian Community studying in universities of USA, California, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and South Africa celebrate Vasant Panchami or Saraswati Puja Festival and large number of students from different countries takes part in this celebration and show keen interest in knowing Indian culture.