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Basant Panchami

Literally 'the fifth day of spring', Vasanta Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Magha. The festival itself dates to antiquity. It is reminiscent of the festival of Vasantotsava of the ancient times, which was one of the most important celebrations as it marked the beginning of the agricultural season.

Vasanta Panchami heralds the spring season. It is hence celebrated with gaiety and festivity to mark the end of the winter, which can be quite severe in northern India. The festive color yellow, symbolic of spring, plays an important part of this day. People wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers in worship and put a yellow, turmeric tilak on their forehead. They visit temples and offer prayers to various gods.

It is also known as Sirapanchami in Bihar and Orissa, when the ploughs are worshipped and the land is furrowed after the winter months. In Bengal, the day is celebrated as Saraswati Puja and is marked by the worship of Saraswati.

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