Vasant Panchami, which literally translates to "spring" and "five," is a celebration that occurs on the fifth day of the Hindu lunar month of Magha (January–February according to the Gregorian calendar), signaling the start of the end of winter and the arrival of spring.
Vasant Panchami is also observed as the Goddess Saraswati's birthday (the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, learning, and art). Therefore, during Vasant Panchami, devotees pray to Saraswati for the gift of intelligence.
People in the majority of India rise early and dress in yellow since it is the goddess Saraswati's favorite color. They do puja while eating and exchanging yellow food and sweets.
On Saraswati Pujo, alpana arts are used to beautify the homes in Bengal. After offering the Goddess flowers, fruits, and homemade delicacies such naru, moya, chal makha, and dal makha, the worshippers share the prasad with their neighbors. On Saraswati Pujo, young people get together dressed to the nines in traditional garb.
Valentine's Day in Bengal
In Kolkata, Saraswati Puja is also known as "Bong's Valentine's Day." On this day, the whole Bengal region may see young lovers going hand in hand while dressed in traditional garb, which is often yellow.
Where did it begin?
Textbooks, notepads, pens, pencils, and reference books are said to get the goddess' blessing when they are put under her watchful gaze and may then officially request a day off from studying.
In Bengal, single-gender schools are the favored option for education, and even the so-called "elite" institutions were either for boys or for females.
It was once thought that a pupil would have to attend a co-educational school if they were denied entrance to one of the city's single-gender schools. On the other hand, on the day of the festival, groups of guys visit girls' schools and dormitories to observe their Saraswati pujas, and vice versa. They spend time together chatting, strolling, eating, making jokes, and taking pictures as they hang out in and around schools and universities. On this particular day, there is no social penalty for the unrestrained mixing.
The members of the opposing genders were therefore legally permitted to have a full day off from school and home on Saraswati Puja.
How is it observed now?
On this day, young ladies wear seductive sarees and males wear kurta pyjamas, and love is in the air. They spend time together by eating, cuddling up beneath trees, or pandal hopping. Students attending schools and colleges may be seen relaxing in the open air at this picturesque site, Prinsep Ghat in Kolkata.
The mood today is one of excitement, enjoyment, and freedom. These young people's happy smiles make the streets seem vivacious and gorgeous.