Rishi Panchami is observed on the fifth day of the waxing moon fortnight of Bhadrapada month (August – September). It is celebrated on the next day of Ganesh Chaturthi.
In Maheshwari Community, this day is also observed as “Bhai Panchami”. On this day women who belong to this community tie rakhi on their brother’s hand and pray for their long life and prosperity and happiness in their life. That rakhi must be in Red, Yellow or Orange color. On that day women observe fast and break the fast after tieing Rakhi at their brother’s wrist.
In the morning they do Bhai Panchami puja. They make Seven brothers with seven small sticks and white cloth and a white thread to tie clothes to the stcks. And then they make one sister with a small stick and a red cloth and moli to tie it. Then they put them together on a small wooden platform with the sister in the middle. Now they do their puja by putting Kumkum and Rice to their foreheads and offer sweets and rakhi or moli to them. And then they begin their Bhai Panchami Vrat Katha accompanied by a Ganeshji’s Kahani. After finishing this they bow down to them and pray for their brother's long life, prosperity, and happiness. While listening or reading the Bhai Panchami Vrat Katha they have to keep some cotton in their hand and have to make thread from it. While doing this they should be very careful about the thread should not break from the middle. And then this thread is offered to them.
Some women also do Rishi Panchami’s Fast. They can drink Buffalo’s Milk and Curd and fruits or vegetables which are grown by themselves at their home. Women observe this vrata by paying homage to Sapta rishis. They observe strict fast on this day. They go to water bodies like rivers and take a holy bath. They clean their hands 108 times and listen to the story of Ganesh, Navagreh, Saptarishi and worship Arundhati. Fruits should be eaten only once in a day. It is told to remember the Rishis like Kashyap, Atri, Bharadwaj, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Janadagni and Vashishtha.
During the observance of this Vrata, the women should visit a river or any water storage in the afternoon, take cow dung with them, clean their teeth with a medicinal herbal stick, take a cold-water bath. They should arrange the idol of Saptarshi on a small wooden platform in the form of seven beetle nuts and perform a 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. This is what is told as a procedure.
A certain king Sitasale asked Brahma to tell him of a fast, which would bestow the quickest result. Brahma replied that Rishi Panchami fast was the one such by virtue of which all sins are washed away.