FESTIVALS : Vasant Panchami – 5th Day of Magh or Spring Season, Phag Mahotsav

Vasant Panchami is a hindu festival in honor of Goddess Saraswati, the hindu Goddess of education, learning and the fine arts music, writing, painting. Vasant Panchami is considered to be one of the most auspicious days for weddings in India and the festi

O Saraswati – the Goddess of Knowledge. Saluations to You. O the One who fulfills all Desires and grants Boons, I am going start my education today. May I always Succeed wherever I go!

The Brahma Vaivarta Puran mentions that Krishna granted a boon to Goddess Saraswati that she will be worshipped on Vasant Panchami too as she was born on this day. Since then, Saraswati Pooja has become a major part of the Vasant Panchami celebrations.

It is said that it was the day of Vasant Panchami when Goddess Saraswati tied the tongue of Kumbhkarana and made him ask for ‘Nidraasan’ (the Throne of Sleep) instead of ‘Indraasan’ (the throne of Kind of Devatas). Thus, she contributed to Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana.

Vasant Panchami is also related to Kamadeva (the God of Desire, Love and Romance). As the story goes:

The demon Tarak had broken all hell loose. He had become invincible as he had been granted the boon that he could only be killed by Shiva’s son.On the other hand, Shiva was in deep meditation. He refused to even look at Parvati and give Her a chance to have His heart – as he had still not recuperated from the shock of his first wife Sati.

All the devatas were becoming impatient. The King of Devatas – Indra – ordered Kamdeva to stir up Shiva’s heart with his love arrows. Even though, Kamdeva knew that it was a suicide mission, he agreed to it for the good of the world.

Beautiful blossoms burst up everywhere and the air became fragrant. Kamadeva shot his love arrows on the Great Shiva. This angered Shiva so much that he instinctively opened his Third Eye and burnt the God of Love to ashes.

Kamadeva’s wife Rati performed penance and pleaded with Shiva to forgive her husband and bring him back to life. When Shiva learnt about the entire situation, he granted the boon to Rati and Kamdeva was re-born from the ashes.

It is said that Rati started her penance on the fifth day of Magh. The day is celebrated as Vasant Panchami and it is considered to be one of the most auspicious days for weddings in India – ensuring everlasting love and conjugal bliss for the couples.

Lord Krishna upheld the Spring as the Greatest Season in Geeta (Adhyaya 10, Shloka 35):

Brihatsama tatha Samnam Gayatri Chhandsamham,
Masanaam Margsheershohamritunaam Kusumaakarah.

(Meaning: I am Brihatsama among the Hymns. I am Gayatri among the Mantras. I am Margsirsha (Nov-Dec) among the Months, and I am the Spring among the Seasons.)

To this day, in Braj region, the festival of colors ‘Phag Mahotsav’ starts with Vasant Panchmi and culminates 40 days later with Holi. Temples in the region offer yellow saffron sweets to the beloved duo Radha and Krishna, while devotees dress up in yellow and offer first gulal to the Greatest Couple of All Times.