In India, Vasant Panchami is one of the chief Hindu religious festivals and is a widespread public holiday. It is a holiday that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. On the Hindu Calendar, it falls during the month of Magh, which corresponds to sometime in January or February on the Gregorian Calendar.
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The main religious figure of Vasant Panchami is the Hindu goddess Sarasvati, the “goddess of wisdom”. Sarasvati is supposed to embody all of the sciences, arts, and crafts. And thus, school children will offer her their pencils, pens, and notebooks to be blessed before they go off to use them at school for the year ahead.
Also, young girls will dress up in yellow dresses and go out to any of the many Vasant Panchami festivals taking place. Yellow is the colour of spring in India, and many will offer yellow flowers to the gods. The farm fields will also be yellow this time of year, in many cases, since it is the season when yellow mustard flowers bloom.
A festive pastry eaten for Vasant Panchami, kesar halwa, is also bright yellow because of the saffron in it. Kesar contains nuts, sugar, cardamom, and flour.