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Celebration of Basant Panchmi

January 26, 2023 05:13 am | Updated 10:47 am IST

Basant Panchmi is commemorated on the ‘Magh Sud’ that is the ‘fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight (Sukla Paksha) of the month of Magha in our lunisolar calendar.’ Basant Panchmi has both cultural and religious import. It is the festival of Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, aesthetics. In the Shanti Parv of the Mahabharata she is called the mother of Vedas. She removes ignorance nescience and darkness infusing warmth brightness, and luminescence, melody, harmony, purity, and delight. As such it is a festival for not only Punjabis, but also to all who believe in a higher power, said Professor Kumool Abbi in a lecture.

In Punjab, Basant Panchami heralds the process of the end of winter and the beginning of spring. For farmers, it signifies a preparation and readiness for the harvesting of the crops. The yellow mustard flowers are in full bloom and with their brightness they engulf the positivity of the human spirit. The occasion is celebrated with sounds of dhol, the pulsating bhangra, flying of colorful kites, the making of yellow rice and wearing yellow clothes, signifying auspiciousness. The Guru Granth Sahib says ‘ Aaj hamare grah basant’, meaning, ‘today is springtime and I am imbibed with the deep crimson hue of Lord’s divine love’.

In Punjab the Dukh Nivaran Sahib Gurdwara at Patiala and Chheharta Sahib Gurdwara at Amritsar are significant for the sacred commemoration of Basant Panchmi. In the past, it also had a special significance at Lahore where a fair patronised by Maharaja Ranjit Singh was held at the memorial of Bhai Haqiqat Rai a Sikh who was martyred on Basant Panchmi day in 1734, for speaking up for the Hindus of the area. While Basant celebrations were gradually eclipsed after partition, kite flying continued in Lahore till 2010. For the Sufis the celebration of Basant Panchmi is a practice initiated by Amir Khusro on the grave of Nizamuddin Auliya of the Chisti order. “ Aaj rang hai, what a glow I see everywhere, I found my beloved Nizammudin Auliya.” Basant Panchami is a day to pray for knowledge, guidance and make a fresh start towards leading a faithful life.

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