Kelvin Smith Library
Basant Festival of Kites, also known as Basant Panchami, Vasant Panchami, Saraswati Puja or Shree Panchami, is a festival to celebrate the first day of spring. It is observed on the fifth day of the Indian month of Magha (late January to early February) by Hindus and Sikhs (Panchami means "fifth").
Basant Panchami is a time for families to gather together and spend the day flying kites. The Basant Kite Festival in Pakistan is celebrated in Lahore where a huge crowd participate and Kite flying competitions take place.
Basant Panchami is also a festival that honors Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of of knowledge, music, and art. She is often pictured dressed in yellow, and on this day women will wear yellow saris or accessories. Yellow is also the color of the mustard flower that announces the arrival of spring. The main meal of the day is made with yellow rice cooked especially for the occasion. Many celebrations take place in schools and universities. Children might be taught to write their first words on this day.
Basant Panchami is celebrated as a Hindu form of Valentine's Day by young people.This day is also identified with the day the deity Shiva was struck with an arrow from Kamadeva.
Children's books, like the ones listed below, are available from nearby public libraries.