Vasant Panchami is a spring festival celebrated in North India. It falls on the 5th day of Phalguna. The day is especially dedicated to Saraswati
, the Goddess of learning, wisdom, fine arts and refinement. Vasant Panchami is a ceremonial welcome to the spring season.
People, dressed in fast colors (especially in bright shades of yellow), dance, sing and make merry. A grand
puja is conducted for Saraswati, the Goddess of creativity and the wife of Brahma, the God of creation.
At the beginning of the puja the youngest girl of the house applies teeka on everyone’s forehead and then sprinkles holy water. Teeka is also applied to the deity, at least thrice with liquid. Rice and flowers are picked up by the fingers and thumb and showered onto the idols. The prasad offered to the goddess varies from community to community. Some offer ber, a kind of plume which grows in abundance in North India, while others present sangari, a kind of bean that grows in the radish plant. These two items are placed on a large metal plate, along with some yellow colored sweets. Paan (betel leaf) along with coconut is given to everyone present.