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All You Need To Know About Vasant Panchami

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - Jan. 28, 2021 10 min read

I know we're currently consumed by political upheaval, but if we could set aside our differences for a moment, we'd be more cognizant of how India blends beauty with the concept of diversity. It doesn't take much more than a stroll through your neighbourhood, to spot the potpourri of food flavours, attires, dialects and customs our nation is celebrated for. The whiff of Afghani mutton Biryani floats by, while a blue-collar worker devours Rajma Chawal at the other end of the street. A Bandhani dupatta wavers around the corner, while the uncle at a chai tapri adjusts his Lungi. The echoes of namaz, the chimes of Gurbani and the tolling of a mandir bell, all within earshot as you stand on a single street. 

 

Within this prismatic melange, are varied festivals that stand for something special for specific regions of the country. And one such festival is coming down the pike, as you read this. We're talking about the joyous occasion of Vasant Panchami. But before we delve further into all that this upcoming auspicious epoch encompasses, let's address a few basic questions some or several of you may be itching to ask. 

 

What Is Vasant Panchami?

With names ranging from Saraswati Puja to Basant Festival of Kites across different regions of the country, Vasant Panchami is a festival celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs to bid farewell to the chilly days of winter, and honour the arrival of Spring season. The literal translation of the word "Vasant Panchami" is Spring and 5th, which denotes the day it's celebrated - the fifth day of the month of Magha in traditional Indian calendars. Fun fact, Indian mythology asserts that it was this day when Lord Brahma created the universe. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival

Image Courtesy - The Statesman 

 

When Is Vasant Panchami In 2021? 

As we mentioned earlier, Vasant Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the Magha month, which generally falls somewhere between February and March on the Gregorian calendar we follow today. This year, we're all set to celebrate Vasant Panchami on Tuesday, 16th February 2021. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival

Image Courtesy - Religion World 

 

Why Do We Celebrate Vasant Panchami?

In the same manner as the name of the festival fluctuating with the region you refer to, the reasons for celebrating Vasant Panchami differ across various states. Broadly speaking, Vasant Panchami marks the onset of Spring along with the beginning of preparations for Holi.

In the eastern regions of India like West Bengal and Bihar, the occasion is celebrated as Saraswati Puja, the goddess of knowledge, language, music and arts. According to another folklore in Hindu mythology, the day of the festival is believed to be the day when Saraswati was born. 

In the northern regions of the country, especially Punjab, Vasant Panchami is treated as a spring harvest festival celebrated in veneration of the yellow flowers of ripened mustard crops, strewn across their agricultural fields. 

 

How Is Vasant Panchami Celebrated? 

Again, with the diverse parts of the country, the celebrations of Vasant Panchami also vary. Many Hindus, especially Bengalis, celebrate the festival by worshipping Goddess Saraswati, wearing yellow, adorning their houses with yellow flowers and eating special sweets, saffron rice and festive delicacies. In states like West Bengal, Bihar, Tripura and Assam, educational institutes celebrate the festival by organising a Saraswati Puja for the students. Several families mark the occasion by teaching young children their first written word or encouraging them to study or make music on the day. In Odisha, a unique ceremony called Khadi-Chuan'/Vidya-Arambha is performed, wherein toddlers begin to learn for the first time. Many folks also perform Pitra-Tarpan, a traditional practice to honour one's ancestors. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Kolkata

Image Courtesy - DNA India 

 

In the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, people traditionally go for an early-morning bath, followed by worshipping Shiva and Parvati wherein mango flowers and ears of wheat are offered to the deities. Newly married couples are expected to head to the temple on their first Vasant Panchami together. 

 

In several parts of Rajasthan, it is customary to wear garlands made of Jasmine flowers, while in Punjab the occasion is celebrated as "Basant Festival of Kites" replete with children as well as adults participating in the sport of kite-flying. In Southern states of India like Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated as Sri Panchami, where Sri denotes the word "her" or symbolically, another aspect of their one Goddess "Devi". 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Punjab-Kite

Image Courtesy - Adotrip

 

How Do We Dress For Vasant Panchami? 

Depends on which nook of the country you're in! But largely, norms dictate you wear a yellow Saari, Kurti, Salwar or shirt. The piece of clothing isn't as important, as the colour is, with yellow symbolising the vibrant bounties of Spring, as well as according to Hindu mythology, Goddess Saraswati's favourite colour. Picture flourishing ripe Sarson ke khet, and you know what your outfit should emulate. Rhyme not intended. 

 

Here's Some Fashion Recommendation For Vasant Panchami!

 

For Women 

 

1. Wrap A-Line Kurta Set From Free Living on Ajio

 

Price 

INR 1,500

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Clothes-For-Women

Image Courtesy - Ajio 

 

 

2. Mustard Yoke Design Kurta With Trousers From Varanga on Myntra 

 

Price 

INR 1,535

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Clothes-For-Women

Image Courtesy - Myntra

 

 

3. Silk Saree With Woven Design & Zari Border From AARRAH on Ajio 

 

Price 

INR 865 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Clothes-For-Women

Image Courtesy - Ajio 

 

 

For Men 

 

1. Striped South Cotton Kurta With Mandarin Collar From Ajio Indie Picks

 

Price 

INR 630 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Clothes-For-Men

Image Courtesy - Ajio 

 

 

2. Woven Design Nehru Jacket From SOJANYA on Myntra 

 

Price 

INR 1,253

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Clothes-For-Men

Image Courtesy - Myntra

 

 

3. Mustard Kurta Shirt With Mandarin Collar From SOJANYA on Myntra

 

Price 

INR 531

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Clothes-For-Men

Image Courtesy - Myntra

 

 

What's On The Menu For Vasant Panchami Festival?

Loads! But are your tastebuds ready? Here we go..

 

If You're Fond Of Bengali Cuisine, Try: 

 

Raj Bhog

A classic Bengali sweet dish that's served and enjoyed with extra enthusiasm on the occasion of Vasant Panchami, Raj Bhog is made with soft fresh Paneer, and strands of Saffron. It's similar to the popular Bengali Roshogulla, but with the added spin of Kesar and almond stuffing. The paneer is mashed carefully with some Maida, to make the sweet soft and fluffy. If you want to make some at home, we'd recommend this Youtube recipe tutorial by Hebbar's Kitchen. 

vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Raj-Bhog

Image Courtesy - Maakhan Bhog 

 

Bhoger Khichuri 

All Bengalis will tell you this if you asked, Saraswati Puja is synonymous with massive crowds lining up for a serving of delicious Bhoger Khichudii. This Khichri is a tad different from the kind you might be used to, with its ingredient list comprising of roasted moong dal and fragrant Gobindobhog rice. The word "bhog" in itself indicates that this Khichuii is first offered to Goddess Saraswati, and then relished by us common folks. Would you like to try dishing up some on your own? Refer to this Youtube recipe tutorial by Bong Eats

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Khichudi

Image Courtesy - Eat, Read & Cook on Blogspot 

 

Begun Bhaja 

I'm not saying I'm biased, but I started salivating just by reciting these two words. Bengali style Begun Bhaja is nothing but thick slices of eggplant shallow-fried in mustard oil and spices. It's a fantastic accompaniment to well, most Bengali dishes honestly, but pairs exceptionally wonderfully with a bowl of Bhoger Khichudi on the day of Saraswati Pujo. Whip up a batch at home by closely following this Youtube recipe tutorial by Bong Eats

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Begun-Bhaja

Image Courtesy - Archana's Kitchen 

 

 

If You Love Punjabi Food, Try: 

 

Basanti Meethe Chawal 

As the name indicates, Basanti Meethe Chawal is a traditional pulao-based sweet dish prepared especially on the occasion of Basant Panchmi. The chief players in this delicious comfort dish, are Basmati rice, sugar syrup, and a carefully picked assortment of spices and dry fruits. Make some at home for Vasant Panchami, or any other day of the year that the cravings strike, with the aid of this Youtube recipe tutorial by Simple & Unique Kitchen. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Meethe-Chawal

Image Courtesy - Meetu's Kitchen on Youtube 

 

Nariyal Ki Barfi 

Nariyal ki barfi is a wonderful Indian fudge recipe, prepared in Punjabi households across the country on the auspicious occasion of Vasant Panchami. And also otherwise. Because the taste is simply heavenly! It's mainly made of heaps of grated coconut along with copious amounts of sugar and milk. You can simply order some from a sweet shop near you, or make your own batch with this easy-to-follow Youtube recipe tutorial by NishaMadhulika. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Nariyal-Barfi

Image Courtesy - Madhu's Everyday Indian 

 

If You Want To Relish Maharashtrian Food, Try: 

 

Kesar Sheera

Made with either rava or sooji, this saffron based halwa dessert is a mouth-watering addition to Vasant Panchami menus in Maharashtrian households. Some ghee, sugar, saffron and orange food colouring is added into this mix for a fragrant bowl of decadent festive dessert. You can also use semolina instead of the regular rava or sooji, or put your own healthy spins to the traditional recipe. We'd recommend following this Youtube recipe tutorial by Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana to make some in your own kitchen! 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Kesar-Sheera

Image Courtesy - Cookpad

 

Puran Poli 

A famous Indian delicacy in the form of a sweet flatbread, Puran Poli is made by stuffing chana dal, jaggery and spices into a dough of wheat flour. While Puran Poli is enjoyed by folks all over the country and throughout the year, the occasion of Vasant Panchami encourages families to prepare and devour this dish with festive gusto. Learn how to recreate this simple recipe at home with this Youtube video tutorial by NishaMadhulika. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Puran-Poli

Image Courtesy - Indulge The New Indian Express 

 

 

More Drool-Worthy Vasant Panchami Dishes For The Foodies: 

 

Khaman Dhokla

I really doubt this famous Gujarati dish warrants much of an introduction. Given its yellow hue and lip-smacking sweet-spicy taste, this one is a must-have for Vasant Panchami if you're going the Gujarati way. In the case of this dish, it's much easier and pocket-friendly to just order yourself a box from virtually any sweet shop near you. 

 

 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Khaman-Dhokla

Image Courtesy - Vege Cravings 

 

Badam Kulfi 

It's cold on the tongue and sweet to all your senses, that's what one of these sticks of Badam Kulfi would feel like to you. A Kulfi is a  frozen Indian dessert made with milk, fresh cream and crushed/chopped almonds or other nuts of your choice. The Basant Panchami special warrants the sprinkling of some Saffron strands on top. There are several takes on this ever popular Indian dessert, but we'd recommend this festive special Kesar Pista Kulfi Youtube recipe tutorial by Hebbars Kitchen!

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-Badam-Kulfi

Image Courtesy - Archana's Kitche 

 

Malpua 

Ever wondered what the Indian version of a pancake would look like? Well, here it is! Malpua is a sweet pancake popular in several states of India including West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Often served alongside a dollop of rabdi, Malpuas are flavoured with fennel and cardamom, and fried just right so its crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. If you've never tried this remarkably tasty festive dessert before, Vasant Panchami is as apt an occasion as it gets. Order some from your neighbourhood sweet shop, or follow this Youtube recipe tutorial by Cook With Parul to make your own. 

Vasant-Panchami-Festival-Food-malpua

Image Courtesy - Vege Cravings 


After the year that 2020 was, here's hoping the festival of Vasant Panchami brings nothing but loads of food, dazzling clothes, and all the happiness in the world to your and your family. Happy celebrations! 


 

 

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