This day is the fifth day, next day after Ganesh Chaturthi day. This is also not a festival, but a day of 'Vrata' to be observed by woman.
The idea behind observance of Vrata on this day is to express respect, gratitude and remembrance of the deeds of those ancient Rishis who devoted their life for the cause of society. If performed by women it is believed, that any ill deeds which they might have committed and the mistakes done, could be washed out by doing this Vrata.
It is told to remember the Rishis like Kashyap, Atri, Bharadwaj, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Janadagni and Vashishtha.
Our Hindu culture has a rich tradition of Vedas, which were written by Rishis. Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Aharva veda, are these four Vedas. The writing work of these Vedas was in progress for nearly 500 years.
As said above, Rishi Panchami is a day of Vrata, to remember the social contribution of these great Rishis and express gratitude. Near the North Pole there are seven ‘Nakshatras’, which are popularly known as ‘Saptarshi’. They are called so, purposely to remember the names of the Rishis permanently.
This Vrata is not being observed now a days. In old days, in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, women used to perform this Vrata. In Bengal, it is not practiced at all.
During the observance of this Vrata, the women should visit river or any water storage in the afternoon, take cow dung with them, clean their teeth with medicinal herbal stick, take cold-water bath. They should arrange the idol of Saptarshi on small wooden platform in the form of seven bettlenuts and perform pooja. On this day they should eat only those fruits, which grow below the earth (soil) and strictly avoid eating any eatables, which are prepared from the grains grown from the toiling of bullocks.