Basant Panchmi, also known as Saraswati Puja is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of the spring season. Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the traditional Indian calendar month of Magha (usually early February). This year, Basant Panchmi will be celebrated on January 29th.
This festival is also referred to as Saraswati Puja in many parts of the country. On this day, people dress in yellow and worship Goddess Saraswati. The yellow colour is considered auspicious and represents the mustard fields of Punjab and Haryana. As Saraswati is worshipped as the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, art and culture, children are encouraged to write their first words in front of her idol, to seek her blessings.
According to belief, Kalidasa was abandoned by his wife, who was a beautiful lady, he planned to kill himself in despair. When he was about to commit suicide by drowning himself in a river, Goddess Saraswati emerged from the same waters and asked him to bathe in it. When Kalidasa took a dip in the river, its water gave him wisdom and he became a famous poet.
People all over India celebrate the day by wearing yellow coloured clothes, eating and distributing sweets, decorating their homes with yellow flowers and much more. Some people also observe a fast for the whole day.
In Punjab, the day involves flying kites that signify freedom and joy. In Maharashtra, newly-weds offer their prayers at a temple, wearing yellow clothes, on their first Basant Panchmi together. In Rajasthan, people wear jasmine garlands to celebrate the day. In West Bengal, artists worship their tools in front of Goddess Saraswati.
Students all over the country offer their stationary to Goddess Saraswati, and it is customary to read or write that day.