Vasant Panchami has a specific meaning: Vasant means "spring" and Panchami means "the fifth day." Vasant Panchami falls on the fifth day of spring.
Vasant Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in late January or February. It is treated as the start of spring, though it is generally winter-like in northern India, and more spring-like in central and western parts of India.
The festival is particularly observed by Hindus in India and Nepal, it's also has been a historical tradition of Sikhs as well. In southern states, the same day is called Sri Panchami.
On the island of Bali and the Hindus of Indonesia, it is known as "Hari Raya Saraswati" (great day of Saraswati). It also marks the beginning of the 210-day long Balinese Pawukon calendar.
Vasant Panchami is a festival that marks the arrival of spring. It is celebrated by people in various ways depending on the region.Vasant Panchami also marks the start of preparation for holiday and holi which occurs forty days later.For many Hindus, Vasant Panchami is the festival dedicated to goddess Saraswati who is their ancient goddess of knowledge, language, music and all arts. She is the energy of Brahma, and she symbolizes creative energy and power in all its form, including longing and love (kama). The season and festival also reflects the agricultural fields which are ripening with yellow flowers of mustard crop, which Hindus associate with Saraswati's favorite color. People dress in yellow saris or shirts or accessories, share yellow colored snacks and sweets. Some add saffron to their rice then eat yellow cooked rice as a part of an elaborate feast.
Many families mark this day by sitting with babies and young children, encouraging their children to write their first words with their fingers, some just study or create music together. The day before Vasant Panchami, Saraswati's temples are filled with food so that she can join the celebrants in the traditional feasting the following morning. In temples and educational institutions, statues of Saraswati are dressed in yellow and worshiped. Many educational institutions arrange special prayers or pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the goddess. Poetic and musical gatherings are held in some communities in reverence for Saraswati.
In Nepal, Bihar and eastern states of India such as West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, people visit her temples and worship her (Saraswati Puja). Most of the schools arrange special Saraswati puja for their students in their premises. In Bangladesh, all major educational institutes and universities observe it with holiday and a special puja.
In southern states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, the same day is called Sri Panchami where "Sri" refers to her as another aspect of the one goddess Devi.