Vasant Panchami: A Celebration of Spring

Land Art 2015 wall calendar by Sally J. Smith

Land Art 2015 wall calendar by Sally J. Smith

The fifth day after the new moon of January (January 24 in 2015) marks the first day of spring in the Hindu holiday calendar and is celebrated in India and Nepal. Yellow is the auspicious color to wear:  the color of happiness and the color of the mustard that is blooming at this time. (In my neighborhood in Seattle, witch hazel is already unfurling its yellow fragrant petals.)

In ancient India, the festival honored Kamadeva, the god of desire, whose bow is made of sugarcane and strung with bees, and whose arrows are decorated with fragrant flowers. Dancing girls performed, and songs of love were sung in the royal court. It is still a day associated with love and an auspicious day for a wedding.

Now it is Saraswati, the goddess of art and learning, who is honored. Her statue is often dressed in yellow clothing. On this day, Kayastha scribes would retire their ink pots and adopt new ones, filling them with new ink for the following day. Children are encouraged to say their first word. Schools take a break. People attend art and painting competitions, music festivals, and poetry readings. Since yellow is the color of the day, people wear yellow garments and eat saffron rice and yellow desserts. You can find recipes for Hindu desserts online but if you can’t easily obtain the specialized ingredients, a rice pudding colored with saffron would be appropriate.


Waverly FitzgeraldWaverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”

 

This entry was posted in Holiday Lore and tagged , , , , on by .

About Amber Lotus Publishing

We plant trees — over half a million and growing! Amber Lotus Publishing is proud to be a carbon-negative independent publisher with a dedication to environmental stewardship. Based in Portland, Oregon, Amber Lotus works with an extraordinary collection of artists and authors such as Alex Grey, Chris Burkard, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, Louise Hay, Katie Daisy, Kinuko Y. Craft, Ram Dass, and more! We create calendars and greeting cards that illuminate the sacred dimensions of everyday life — mindfulness, healthy lifestyles, and earth awareness. We strive to consistently offer products that are authentic and distinctive to bring you a sense of the eternal by nurturing your heart, renewing your soul, and expanding your mind.

One thought on “Vasant Panchami: A Celebration of Spring

  1. Pingback: Imbolc and Candlemas | Amber Lotus Publishing

Leave a Reply