- Vasanta Panchami
- Vasanta Panchami festival, literally “The ‘Fifth Day of the Moon’ in the Springtime,” is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Magha (January–February), the begin-ning of spring in India. It is dedicated to the wor-ship of SARASVATI, the goddess of learning and fine arts. The worship is performed to a fashioned clay image, which is then put into a body of water such as a river or a tank. This festival is particularly popular in Bengal.Some call this festival Sri Panchami and equate Sarasvati (who is usually the wife of Brahma) with LAKSHMI or Sri, the wife of VISHNU. Part of the day’s observance is a preparation for the HOLI festival, which falls 40 days later. The devotee places a flammable image of the demoness Holika (after whom Holi is supposedly named) on a log, with an inflammable image of PRAHLADA (the great devotee of VISHNU) on her lap. During the 40 days people throw twigs and other flammable objects on the log, which is set on fire before the Holi festival commences.Further reading: Swami Harshananda, Hindu Festivals and Sacred Days (Bangalore: Ramakrishna Math, 1994); H. V. Shekar, Festivals of India: Significance of the Cel-ebrations (Louisville, Ky.: Insight Books, 2000).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.