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Vasant Panchmi:Sharaswati Puja

Vasant is said to be the prince of all seasons, when the whole nature swoons in ecstasy. So the ancient Hindu calendar started with this season. Vasant Panchami or Sri Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Magha (Jan- Feb). This day is specially dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, wisdom, and fine arts. On this day, robes, yellow in color are traditionally worn, taking clue from the fields wearing a mustard flowers' brilliant color. This color also signifies maturity and ripeness. The "Prasadam" for the Goddess varies from community to community. Some have "Ber"- a kind of plume that is found in abundance in North India, and "Sangari"- a kind of bean that grows in the root of the radish plant are offered as prasadams. Along with these two, some "Burfi" sweets, which are yellow in color and marigolds, are placed on a "Thali" in front of the deity. The younger girl of the family normally begins the worship. Goddess Saraswati is selected for worship on this day since she is a female deity free from any negative attributes and also appears very graceful. Since she is associated with fine arts, music concerts and poetic symposiums are held on this day all over the country. Vasant Panchami is rarely held as a holiday now in India. When it was taken as a holiday long before, kite -flying was followed in almost all the households of north India.

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