Saraswati Puja, also known as Vasant Panchami, is the first of two Spring Hindu festivals. It celebrates Saraswati, the goddess of education, music, arts and culture. On this day, books are not used. Instead, students place their books, pens and musical instruments before a statue of the Goddess, so that they might receive her blessings. It is common for new students to begin their education around this celebration. Schools and Universities offer special times for worship during the festival, in addition to their traditional activities. Young children are also encouraged to write the alphabet for the first time, to start the path to gaining knowledge.
In the Punjab region of India, a kite festival draws tourists from around the world. Kites and string are purchased in large quantities and the children fly them to celebrate the festival. The sky comes alive with a rainbow of vivid colors. There is also a tradition called the “throwing of color” where people throw packets of dyes and shower one another in bright, vivid colors. The kids paint each other in this fun and joyful event. There are also special dances and songs.
Other rituals of the holiday include the use of a white idol which represents purity. Natural dye for the Shiuli flowers are used for the deity’s sari. Offerings are presented to her including sweets like berries and puffed rice. Meals on this day are strictly vegetarian to represent purity and learning.
The color yellow plays a large role in this festival because it is associated with the blooming of mustard flowers. Saraswati is often depicted wearing a yellow dress, and during the festival many people wear yellow to represent the coming of spring. Sweet saffron rice, and other yellow traditional dishes are shared among celebrating families.
Yellow has the ability to lift the spirit. It instantly draws the mind to thoughts of sunshine and renewal after the often long, gray days of winter. If you are feeling the winter blues or experiencing some cabin fever, enhance your environment with a punch of bright yellow color.
Kheops can help you celebrate the coming Spring with several unique items. Our miniature Saraswati figurines are great for carrying or placing on your altar. Give your space a lift with brightly colored prayer flags or other décor. Yellow can add a touch of warmth to your space. Even the warm glow of candlelight soothes the soul and embraces the essence of warmth that comes with Spring. Take time to plan your garden, or renew a sacred space. In the spirit of Saraswati, it may be a great time to increase your knowledge as well.