Basant Panchami – The festival welcoming arrival of spring held on the fifth day of month of Maagh in Hindu calender (corresponding to late Jan – early Feb of Gregorian) marking the start of Spring and Holi season. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of knowledge, music, art and culture. It is called Basant or Vasant Panchami . In modern times, however, Vasant Panchami day is more commonly associated with Maa Saraswati, the goddess of learning, wisdom, knowledge, fine arts, refinement, science and technology. People worship Goddess Saraswati to attain enlightenment through knowledge and to rid themselves of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance.
For everyone including farmers and musicians it is a special day to start anew with the arrival of new harvest bringing in a new hope ! The color of this festival is “Yellow” symbolizing the yellow color of flowers and farms of northern India.
On the day of Vasant Panchmi, musicians start the music by singing Basant Raag. For me Basant is a true pleasurable raag especially with the bandishes like “Fagawa Brij dekhan ko chalo ri” and my favorite one ” Aaj raag sab bane baaraati, Dulha raag Basant ” . In this later bandish , Basant is described as a young groom that is about to get married and all other “Raags” have arrived at this festive celebration.
“और राग सब बने बाराती , दुल्हा राग बसंत
मदन महोत्सव आज सखी री , अब बिदा भयो हेमंत ।
सहचर गान करत ऊंचे स्वर कोकिल बोले हसंत
गावत नारी पंचम उंचे स्वर , ऐसो हि प्रिय कंत
क्रीष्णदास स्वामीनी बड्यो भागनी मिल्यो है भामा को कंत ||”
Here is the link to this traditional melodious Basant performed live by evergreen Pt Jasraj accompanied by Gaargi Siddhanta on vocal support , Appa Jalgavkar on Harmonium , young Vijay Ghate on Tabla and Kala Ramnath on violins.