Vasant Panchami
(Video of Saraswati celebration)

Vasant Panchami is the festival celebrated on the first day of spring in the lunar month of Magh, which usually falls between January and February. It is celebrated in honor of Saraswati, the
wife of Brahma and the goddess of music, knowledge and art. The festival day is believed to be Saraswati’s birthday. She is revered as a source of spiritual enlightenment. Saraswati has four hands that symbolize mind, intellect, alertness and ego. Two of her hands hold sacred scriptures and the lotus, which symbolizes true knowledge; her other hands play music on a lute (veena). Hindus dress themselves in yellow on this day and eat foods of yellow color, and images of Saraswati are dressed in all yellow. The festival is more than just a celebration; on this day, some people feed Brahmanas on this day; special prayers are given to Saraswati; and babies are taught to write their first words. Since Saraswati is usually not worshiped in temples, this day assumes special importance. Miracles, such as healings, have sometimes been reported during this festival. It is believed that those who pray to her will have good fortune in the arts and knowledge.

Profile prepared by Josh Jolly
May, 2009