Basant Panchami is one of the most vibrant festivals of India. Basant Panchami, celebrated in the beginning of the spring season, is followed by Holi which falls mostly within a month in February or in early March. Basant Panchami is marked at a time when bright yellow flowers of the ripe mustard plants dominate rural India. Surprisingly several spring flowers are yellow across the world inicluding the daffodils. Marigold or ‘genda’, ‘sheuli’ or night jasmine, yellow Hyacinth, yellow lilies and Forsythia shrubs are among the many yellow spring flowers in India. This is the main reason of yellow being the dominant colour of Basant Panchami and as the name suggests ‘Basant’ refers to the spring season.
Devi Saraswati’s favorite colour is yellow. Saraswati idols are always decorated with yellow flowers and sarees of the same colour and sometimes white is also used symbolizing purity and wisdom. People celebrating Saraswati Puja traditionally dress in yellow clothes and accessories during Basant Panchami. Even the offerings to Goddess Saraswati are usually yellow in colour.
Basant Panchami marks the beginning of Holi festivities in Brij Bhoomi and temples in Vrindavan are decorated with marigold flowers. The idols in the temples are also often adorned with yellow dresses to mark the arrival of spring.
In Rajasthan, it is custom for people to wear jasmine garlands on Basant Panchami and in Maharashtra, newly married couples visit temples to offer prayers on their first Basant Panchami after wedding in yellow clothes. In Punjab too there is a tradition of wearing yellow turbans. In Uttarakhand, people worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on Basant Panchami, and people are known to eat yellow rice or ‘meetha chawal’ and wear yellow.