Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day or Panchami of the Magha month, as per the Hindu calendar. This year, the festival falls on 5 February.
Basant Panchami marks the beginning of the spring season and the end of the harsh, cold winter season. The day is also marked as Saraswati Puja in Bihar, West Bengal and other parts of eastern India. On this day, people offer prayer to Goddess Saraswati, who is the patron of knowledge and learning.
The colour yellow holds a special significance for Basant Panchami, as it symbolises prosperity, energy and optimism. Many people wear new clothes and make a variety of delectable dishes to celebrate the occasion.
As with any festival, food plays an important role in Basant Panchami, with some dishes being essential to the celebrations. Here are some easy traditional recipes you can make for Basant Panchami this year:
Khichdi: This mix of rice and pulses is a staple for Basant Panchami. With a generous dose of ghee and some crunchy delights such as pakoras or papads, khichdi is the perfect traditional dish to serve on this festive day.
Boondi laddoo: Many people prepare boondi laddoos on this occasion. The delicious sweet is made by pouring besan through a perforated ladle into hot oil. The pearl-like droplets are deep-fried till crisp and then submerged into a sugar syrup. The boondi is then moulded into laddoos.
Beguni: A fritter made from eggplant, the crispy side dish is an essential part of the festival.
Kesari Chawal: Also called meethe chawal, the recipe is made using rice and sugar syrup. Aromatic ingredients such as kesar (saffron), cloves, cardamom and cinnamon are added to the dish, to give it fragrance and flavour.
Rajbhog: A traditional Bengali sweet dish that is made with paneer, this dessert is a must-have on the day of Basant Panchami. The recipe is made by mashing paneer and flour and making it into a smooth mixture. The mixture is moulded into round balls and stuffed with almonds, pistachios and other ingredients to give it an extra zing. It is then cooked into the sugar syrup and served.
These are just some of the dishes you can try out on Basant Panchami this year.