January 22 is Vasant Panchami day folks.
For us Indians, this day marks the beginning of the Spring season. You will see several Indians wearing yellow colored clothes and smiles.
But what is the cultural significance of Vasant Panchami?
Winters in North India are generally harsh. Now you would smile from ear to ear because you folks have -20 degrees in your countries WHICH IS MUCH HARSHER!
But for us, even 4 degrees Celsius is very cold. Therefore Spring for us is a season of Life. And that is what Vasant Panchami is all about.
Meaning of the words, Vasant Panchami
Vasant means Spring, and Panchami stands for the Fifth Day.
So, we celebrate this day on the fifth day of the Spring Season. Generally, it is celebrated during the month of Magh, which corresponds to mid-January and February. In India, we have Sanskrit names for our months just as you have Greek and Roman names for the calendar months.
We dedicate this day to Goddess Saraswati who is the giver of knowledge. She is also associated with wisdom, music, and speech. Another name of Saraswati is Vagdevi or Devi of Speech.
She is the manasputri of Lord Brahma; He created Her from His consciousness. Saraswati is not the biological daughter of Brahma, let me be clear.
There is a very interesting story about how Saraswati came into being.
One day, Lord Bramha was wandering the Earth generally checking out how His creations were doing. He had just created the world and was curious about his results.
Bramha observed that the people were generally not happy; they were just going around and doing their jobs without any enthusiasm.
When He asked them the reason for their unhappiness, they told Him that there is no music in life, no art, and culture and generally no avenues for self-development.
Moved by their misery, Bramha meditated for a while and in a few seconds gave birth to Saraswati from His consciousness.
How does Saraswati look like?
She has a gentle appearance, is clad in white and holds a veena or a harp. The Goddess rides a swan which means that She blesses her devotees with the power to distinguish between right and wrong.
Goddess Saraswati has a gentle face which means that upon acquiring knowledge, one becomes a balanced person.
Knowledge does not have to do a Ph.D. in Engineering or Medicine; true learning liberates people from bad things.
On Vasant Panchami, people pray to Goddess Saraswati and start their life afresh. Yellow is the main color for this day. Some special foods are prepared on this day also.
Government offices are generally open that day.
You can read some more interesting stories on Indian culture here > http://www.indiatraveltip.com/varanasi-really-haunted-place/