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Festival Of Vasant Panchami 

As 'Diwali' the festival of light is to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth....Vasant Panchami is to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning. The festival is celebrated every year on the 5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha the day called 'Vasant Panchami'.

Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, art and music is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. It is believed that goddess Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus the symbol of true knowledge in the second. With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on a string instrument called the veena. She is dressed in white the symbol of purity and rides on a white swan that symbolizes Sattwa Guna or purity and discrimination. Saraswati is also a prominent figure in Buddhist iconography the consort of Manjushri. 

She represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is the mother of the Vedas, and chants to her, called the 'Saraswati Vandana' often begin and end Vedic lessons.

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 Hindus celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm, and temples and households are full of activities on this day. This 'Panchami' is also known as Saraswati Day, because it is believed that on this day the goddess was born.

The color yellow is given special importance on Vasant Panchami. On this day, Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped. People prefer to wear yellow clothes on this holy day. Sweetmeats of yellowish hues are distributed among relations and friends. Some people feed Brahmins, some perform Pitri-Tarpan (ancestor worship) and many worship Kamadeva, the god of love on this day.

However, the most significant aspect of this day is that children are taught their first words on this day, for it is considered an auspicious day to begin how to read and write. Educational institutions organize special prayer for Saraswati. The great Indian guru Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya laid the foundations of the world class academic institution of Kashi Hindu Vishwa Vidyalaya on Vasant Panchami.

Saintly people and individuals inclined towards spiritual progress attach great importance to the worship of goddess Saraswati. As a practice, only educated people and men of principle worship goddess Saraswati for spiritual enlightenment. In their opinion, there can be no comparison between the king and the learned or the spiritually advanced. The king is honored within his kingdom, whereas the learned is respected or worshipped throughout the world.

Vasant Panchami is a festival full of religious, seasonal and social significance and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world with verve and new sense of optimism. The first faint signals of the forthcoming festival of Holi the festival of colors also manifest at Vasant Panchami.
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