Shree Panchami Festival
(From right) President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Vice-president Nada Bahadur Pun and House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota attend the Basanta Shrawan ritual at Nasalchowk in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, on the occasion of Shree Panchami festival, also known as Basanta Panchami, on Tiesday, February 16, 2021. Photo: RSS

President Bidya Devi Bhandari attended the Basanta Shrawan ritual organized at Nasalchowk in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, Kathmandu today.

On the occasion of Shree Panchami festival, the President listened to 12 verses recited by priests at the auspicious hour. The President also received tika and prasad from priests.

On the occasion, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun, Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Sapkota, ministers, chiefs of constitutional bodies and security agencies, and high ranking government officials also listened to the verses and received tika and prasad. President Bhandari was offered guard of honour by a contingent of the Nepal Army.

Basanta Shrawan in Hanumandhoka
President Bidya Devi Bhandari attends the Basanta Shrawan ritual at Nasalchowk in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, on the occasion of Shree Panchami festival, also known as Basanta Panchami, on Tiesday, February 16, 2021. Photo: RSS

As per tradition, the head of the state and of the government, along with high-ranking government officials listened to the Sanskrit verses of Basanta Shrawan from the second chapter of Geet Govinda epic, recited by the chief priest, Devraj Aryal.

Shree Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Magh according to the Nepali calendar.

The ritual has its origins in the Shreemad Bhagawat Mahapurana which mentions a particular episode in the life of the Hindu deity Krishna, in which Radha and her friends sing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna, heralding the arrival of the spring season.

It is believed that from this day, the sun starts moving to the northern hemisphere, causing longer days and signaling the beginning of the spring season. Marriage ceremonies and other religious functions are also performed on this day as the day is believed to be auspicious.

Legend has it that reciting and listening to verses about Goddess Saraswati on this day enriches knowledge. The traditional Nepali Panche Baja ensemble played in the background as the listening of hymns was in progress.

The band of the Nepal Army also played the auspicious melody on the occasion.

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