Basant Panchami is a Vedic festival that honors Goddess Saraswati who personifies vidya (spiritual knowledge) and dispels tamas (ignorance). Basant being a season of spring (Jan-Feb) and Panchami, fifth day (Panch meaning ‘five’) of the fortnight as per Hindu calendar. On the fifth day of spring, people celebrate Saraswati/Basant Panchami.
‘Saraswati’ is made of Sāra referring to ‘essence’ and Sva referring to ‘self’ as in Svavalambi (self-reliant), meaning the essence of one’s self, self-realization. One who worships Goddess Saraswati without any reservations attains Her quality of being self-realized, devoid of tamas (ignorance).
The spiritual significance is that the festival symbolizes the end of the days of ignorance and awakening into Spiritual enlightenment. Those inclined towards spiritual progress attach great importance to the worship of their gurus or spiritual mentors on this day and request their grace in their spiritual pursuits.
Many disciples perform acts of selfless service in the name of their Gurus to express their gratitude for knowledge that they have imparted and to request their continued grace .
The color yellow is perhaps the most prominent feature on Basant Panchami. yellow is considered to represent the sattva guna – characteristic of purity, prosperity and love. Yellow colored clothes, foods (like saffron rice), flowers (mustard) and sweets (with kesar) are the traditional norm on this day.