India - Basant Panchami Festival of India

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Basant Panchami Festival of India

Basant Panchami is a festival that is celebrated by people of all communities - Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. The literal meaning of 'Basant' is spring. According to the Hindu calendar, it falls on the fifth of the so called 'Magh' month or in the month of February.

The Basant festival is mostly celebrated in north India. The fields appear beautiful golden yellow with ripe mustard crops .People cook yellow rice and wear yellow clothes. Yellow color is considered auspicious and is given importance on this day. There is a feeling of plenty and thus gaiety in the atmosphere.

It is essentially a one day festival; it ushers in the spring season after cold winter months. The whole of India celebrates it. On this auspicious day, children are taught their first words, educational institutions offer prayers to the Goddess and the Brahmins (Hindu priests) are fed. Ancestors are also worshipped and Pitri-Tarpan is performed.

The nation celebrates it by flying kites but there many instances of injuries which are caused by the fliers falling off the roof tops of the buildings. The enthusiasm of the fliers is so great and the joy of grabbing the kite which happens to fly near by or defeating the opponent by cutting his thread by sheer deftness of flying techniques in the 'kite battles' is adrenalin pumping. The heart throbbing that accompanies the kite flying is to be experienced to be believed.

Muslims too are known for their love for celebrating this festival. They call it Jashan-e Baharaan. They also fly kites, as the sky is very clear during this time and the wind is quite appropriate. In Pakistan also this festival is celebrated in a similar manner.

In West Bengal Saraswati Puja is celebrated on this day. This festival is all about reminding ourselves that cold dreary winter months are over and there is a new beginning in the air. India surely has a festival for every occasion!


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