04 Feb Vasanth Panchami Papercraft
Tomorrow is the Vasanth Panchami festival. Although it is not celebrated widely in ISKCON temples in the west, our ten-year stay in India, Mayapur, has brought me into the habit of celebrating this festival in one way or another. In India, this day is considered the first day of spring. On this day, people worship the goddess Saraswati, who gives blessings for successful learning and schooling. And for the Vaishnavas, it is the appearance day of Vishnupriya Devi, the consort of Lord Caitanya.
In Mayapur, the altar and the Deities are all in yellow for this festival. It is a beautiful scene that all devotees eagerly wait to see. Traditionally, people in India wear yellow clothes and make yellow-colored food for this occasion. I don’t know the source of this tradition, but I believe that yellow also marks the arrival of spring. It is interesting that at the same time, at the beginning of February, there is a Christian tradition, which marks the first sign of spring. It is called Candlemas and is actually rooted in pagan beliefs (like many other Christian holidays). So, this is the right time to greet the spring, even if we live on the European or American continent (Northern hemisphere). Surely, we have seen a few snowdrops during our nature walk this week.
I was trying but have not found any specific story about Vasanth Panchami in the Vaishnava tradition. What I have found is that on this day Lord Krishna and the gopies performed the Rasa-Lila on Govardhana hill near the lake Chandra Sarovara. If you know some more information or stories regarding Vasanth Panchami, feel free to write it in the comment below this article.
I was inspired to make Radha and Krishna with a yellow backdrop out of paper as a simple Vasanth Panchami offering. Doing papercraft is one of my favorite craft activities. Recently I found a source on how to use papercraft in storytelling for children, and I have been playing with it for a while. In the photos below I share the process of creating this lovely scene out of paper.
Basically, you need to create one window and one backdrop from the card paper (I used an A4 size of paper) and attach details to them with the glue. I made details out of tin paper, except the dark yellow trees. You can do most of the work with scissors, but for the little details inside the single paper form, you would need a scalpel and a cutting board (I use an ordinary wooden board from the kitchen). You can make it as simple or as detailed as you wish, the possibilities are endless. I draw the images of Radha and Krishna on tick paper, and my daughter colored Them. If drawing is not your greatest skill, you can find images or coloring pages on the internet and print them out.
This is a beautiful and creative craft project for any festival. The best part is that kids can help and participate, either for cutting, gluing, drawing, or coloring. As a result, you will get a little piece of art that you can use for storytelling or as a simple theatre scene. You can place it on your nature table or use it as a part of the festival decoration, to give your children (and adults) a visual impression to support their spiritual life.
I encourage you to give it a try and do not hesitate to share the result with me in the comment.