Followers of Hinduism celebrate lots of fairs and festivals round the year. Basant Panchami or Saraswati Puja is one of the main festivals, observed by worshiping Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. The festival heralds the beginning of the spring season and is very important for teachers and students.
The fifth day of the new moon holds special significance in the Mithila region.
The fifth day of the new moon of the month of Shrawan is celebrated as Mauna Panchami. People worship the Bishara goddess with special respect and reverence on this day. They also celebrate the famous festival of Madhushrawani. It is considered the honeymoon of the newly married bride and groom. Moreover they also pay due respect to the serpent god which is called Nagpanchami.The fifth day of Mangsir is celebrated as Vivah Panchami.On this special occasion the marriage ceremony of Lord Ramchandra and goddess Sita is celebrated with great fanfare in Janakpur.
The fifth day of the new moon on the month of Magh is called Vasant Panchami when the Goddess Saraswati is worshiped in each and every educational institution in Mithila with interest and enthusiasm. Especially all teachers and students pay offerings to Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom. She is not only the Goddess of wisdom but also the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and modern technology.Goddess Sarswati is worshiped on Vasant Panchami day which is also called as Sri Panchami and Saraswati Panchami.People worship Goddess Sarswati to get enlightened with knowledge and get rid of ignorance for ever.
It is also celebrated for attaining the blessing of Mother Saraswati.This special worship is performed by expert priest and Pandit who chant shlokas of Sanskrit and also read Saraswati Puran.She is considered mother of all the Vedas.She is also known as Bharati( persuasiveness), Shatrupad (survival), Vedamata( mother of the Vedas) Brahmi, Sharada, Vageshwari and Putkari.She is well known as the Goddess of speech.She is also revered and respected as the Goddess of aesthetics and alphabet because children of Mithila first of all learn alphabet on this auspicious occasion.
Goddess Sarswati is represented as a graceful woman in white apparel, a symbol of purity and peace and chastity. She is the only Goddess, who signifies knowledge, learning, arts and culture. This puja is celebrated in a free and friendly atmosphere beyond the feelings of caste, creed and gender. It is a community festival scholars and students community festival, which gives a suitable opportunity to forget all the ill nourished feelings of the whole year.
This festival is celebrated in the spring season when Maithil people are mentally and physically prepared to make merry by worshiping the Goddess and distributing sacred Prasad among themselves. On this occasion, these people wear white new clothes befitting the occasion. The main person performing the pooja wears yellow clothes because yellow is the color of the spring season.
This is an agricultural festival also because after a break of one month farmers start to plough their barren fields on this day.
The festival is observed somewhat differently in the Kathmandu valley. In the month of Magh, the Hindus celebrate Basant Pachami by listening to holy recitations from the priests about the advent of the spring season and its glory. On this auspicious occasion, a Vasant Shrawan ceremony is held at the courtyard of the historic Hanuman Dhoka, where the glory of the spring is sung and listened to. On this day, schools, campuses and universities all over the country are decorated tastefully with festoons and the goddess of knowledge is worshiped. Students as well as learned men and women gather at educational institutions in their native towns and villages for the celebrations.
Goddess Saraswati is depicted as having four hands. On one hand, she holds a sacred scripture, a lovely lotus, while the other two hands hold the Veena, a stringed musical instrument. Her vehicle is a white swan. In Buddhism, she is said to be the consort of the respected Manjushri.
Her earthen idols are immersed in nearby rivers and ponds on the following day amid recitations of prayers dedicated to her.