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India: Welcome, spring!

Holiday. Vasant Panchami (Saraswati Puja)

When? On the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magha.

Where? India.

The meaning. „Welcoming the Spring!“ This Hindu festival marks the start of spring and Holi season (Vasant means spring).

The way of celebration. Vasant Panchami has many traditions and legends associated with it. On this day, people meet the spring and worship Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, culture, wisdom, music, and arts. Therefore, Saraswati Puja is also important for the students. People go to Sarasvati's temples and filled them with food, arrange special prayers in the morning to get the blessing of the Goddess. There is a special ritual: children are initiated to learn the alphabet. Celebrants usually wear yellow garments, because this color is considered auspicious in Hindu culture of Saraswati.

Family traditions. Ammutha Tuma, an events Program director and public relations manager, lives in Dorschitz/Kostenberger with her husband Anton and two cute cats. She arrived from South part of India to Carinthia eight months ago. „ In my country spring comes early”, Amutha says. “During Vasant Panchami, mustard fields of India get filled up with yellow flowers. A wonderful event associated with “spring-welcome-day” called kite festival. On this day, some states of India decorate the sky with numerous beautiful kites. It’s very picturesque. At home we eat sweet safron rice and yellow sweets”. This year Vasant Panchami reminded Ammutha of her homeland, which is thousands kilometers away from mountains in Carinthia. (Recherche, Text Vita Vitrenko)

PHOTOS

1. Spring festival Vasant Panchami in India (source: www.religiousportal.com)2.

2. Goddess Saraswati.

3. Ammutha Tuma is an events Program director and public relations manager, with over 15 years experience in human resources development, specializing in international events and celebrity management. Today she has brought her professional and life experiences to lead her own team and arrange few events in South India and Srilanka.

4. Delicious rice pulao (vegetable rice), cooked by Ammutha, is a popular Indian dish.

5. Chana ke dhal is a national Indian dish made from beans “chana” and vegetables.

6. Puja room, a special place in Ammutha’s apartment for everyday prayers and special “puja” (a prayer ritual) on auspicious days.