Nomenclature and date:
Vasant Panchami, also spelled Basant Panchami, is a festival that marks the arrival of spring, celebrated by people in various ways depending on the region. The Vasant Panchami also marks the start of preparation for Holika and Holi, which occurs forty days later.
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.