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Vasant Panchmi: the onset of spring festival

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By Varnika Mahajan

What Diwali is to the goddess of wealth Lakshmi, Vasant Panchmi is to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts. The whole country observes this auspicious day of harvest, which indicates the arrival of spring.

It is interesting to observe that in Indian culture, we have three goddesses representing, Wealth (Lakshmi), Power (Shakti) and Education (Saraswati), showing the equal importance being laid on all the three aspects.

Special prayers are offered to Goddess Saraswati on this day and many new schools and training institutes are inaugurated, a trend made famous by the renowned founder of the Banaras Hindu University, educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. He founded the University on Vasant Panchami day in the year 1916.

History behind the festival

The story goes like this- Lord Shiva burnt the god of love, Lord Kamadeva, who was sent by other Gods to tempt Lord Shiva while he was absorbed in Samadhi. This was done so that Lord Shiva would come out of Samadhi, marry Devi Parvati and beget a powerful son who would be able to destroy the wicked demon Tarakasura. Kamadeva discharged a powerful arrow at Lord Shiva from behind a tree, which disturbed Shiva’s meditation and, as a result, he became very greatly enraged. This led to the opening of His third eye which reduced Kamadeva to ashes.

Thus, the God of love- Kamadeva is honored on this day. Kamadeva Puja used to be conducted in many parts of the country in the past though such a practice has greatly reduced in the present. Kamadeva is also known as “Atanu” — one without a body and spring or Vasant being Kamadeva’s close friend, spring is closely associated with the latter.

Saraswati Puja

The major celebration on this day though is the Saraswati Puja. As per the accounts of Brahma Vaivarta Purana, a boon was granted by Krishna to Goddess Saraswati that she would be worshiped on Vasant Panchami.

Traditionally a Kalash containing water is set up with colored powder thrown into the air to mark the occasion.  Men and women wear yellow color which is a sign of auspiciousness and spirituality, representing the ripening of the spring crops.

People celebrating Basant Panchami in The East, generally wear yellow color garments, deck up Saraswati’s idol too in yellow. In the Telugu states, Vasant Panchami is observed with prayers to Maa Saraswati, and also observing Akshara Abhyasam or Vidya Arambham.

Even the food is colored yellow by using saffron with folks getting together and singing songs connected with spring.

Symbolism behind imagery of Goddess Saraswati

Seated on a white lotus, Saraswati draped in White with Veena in her hands, symbolizes knowledge, truth and light. Her four hands often displayed prominently symbolize, manas( sense), buddhi( intellect), chitta( imagination) and ahamkar( self consciousness). The Veena represents all the creative arts and sciences, and her holding represents the harmony created by knowledge.  Sitting on a white swan, it also symbolizes spiritual perfection, transcendence and Moksha. Thus, a sincere worship of Goddess Saraswati will lead one to Vidya and Moksha.

Interesting facts

    • At the end of the festivities, the flowers and mango leaves would be sprinkled with red gulal with girls applying it to their cheeks.
    • Interestingly, there is a gap of 40 days between Vasant Panchami and Holi and it is believed to be the number of days Rati undertook penance, after her husband Kamadeva was burnt to ashes by Shiva’s third eye.
    • Sufi Muslims have been witnessing this day since 12th century AD. It is said that the poet Amir Khusro, dressed in yellow, took flowers to the saint Nizamuddin, who was mourning the death of his nephew which made him feel better. Sufi Basant is observed in Sufi shrines.
    • In Uttarakhand, earthen lamps and incense are lit, to signify worship of the earth as a ‘harvest festival’. On the other hand, people in Bihar and Bengal worship the plough on this day.
    • Saraswati Puja is also called Shree Panchami.
    • Punjab region celebrates it as the Basant Festival of Kites with the observance in Gurdwaras as a Sikh festival.
    • Worshiped not only in India but other countries too, the goddess is called by many names- Brahmani( Goddess of Science), Vani( referring to the flow of music).  In Telugu-speaking states, she is referred to as Chaduvula Thalli( Goddess of education) and as Kalaimagal, Kalaivani in Tamil. A very common name is Sharada, one who loves the autumn season. (Image source: besthdwalls.in)

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Here are Ways to Decorate Your Home This Spring Season

Go decorative this spring

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Spring home
With spring around the corner, its time to say goodbye to that dark blues and black ruling the house! Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

Do you want to get rid of that dark winter interiors? With spring around the corner, its time to say goodbye to that dark blues and black ruling the house!

From the very expected hues and florals to pastels and new shapes, here’s everything you should consider to make your home feel new. Heena Jain, interior designer and consultant, WoodenStreet, shares some tips and tricks to define interiors style in your home for the upcoming 2020 spring. Go decorative!

Spring home
House plants are a must for spring season. Pixabay

Say yes to calm spaces

Put all the dark wintry colour decor items to rest for some good time and bring the brighter shades out from hibernation mode. Spring is all about new growth and freshness that comes with the season. Black tones are to be replaced with light and primary colours.

Bring in the pastels

The playful pastels are in trend from past many years and it will be in for some couple of years more. For 2020 spring, you can go confident with pastel blues to create a soothing aura around.

Planters? For sure

No home space screams complete without plants. This is something that households have been adding in home since the dawn of time, and it’s just a wonderful thing. Can’t get enough of fresh ones? Artificial planters are a way to go for! Add planters in home to fill your space with freshness and energy.

Spring home
Updating your lampshade can make your home decor in spring look even better. Pixabay

Pretty florals

It’s time to replace your winter decor with the pretty florals that evoke spring season. This can be in major furniture pieces or some decor items both.

Adding florals is one of the great decor tricks for updating your room as you move through the seasons.

Also Read- Here’s how “No Make-Up” Look Affects Your Skin

Update your lampshade

It is an instant way to update a room without having to spend so many bucks. You will be surprised how updating the lampshades in your room can make a big difference with the feel of the space.

Calmness on the floor

Spring is about the brighter colours. The colours that make the space feel more airy. Little pop of yellow wont hurt here. (IANS)