Vat Savitri: India, as a country, comprises of many traditions and unique culture. Some are associated with brotherhood, celebrating peace, a celebration of the victory of truth over evil and much more. Likewise, Indian women observe this festival “Vat Savitri” which is done for the longevity, well-being, and prosperity of their husbands. It is celebrated throughout the country under different names. However, the Southern and Northern part of the country performs this festival according to the Hindu Lunar calendar as this festival is celebrated according to two Hindu Lunar calendars- Amanta and Purnimanta.
The Northern states of India follow Purnimanta and celebrate this festival in Jyeshtha Amavasya which falls today, May 25. While the Southern part of India celebrates the festival during Jyeshtha Purnima according to Amanta calendar, which will take place on June 9, 2017.
A sneak-peak into the history: The ritual has its own mythological importance. It dates back to the Mahabharata era, it is related to the legend- “Savitri” who tricked impelled the lord of death, “Yamraj” to return the life of her husband. She got her husband back under a banyan tree.
In Modern Times: The Banyan tree symbolizes “Savitri” and its different parts viz, root, stem and the tree itself represent “Trimurtis” which is “Brahma”, “Vishnu” and “Shiva”. Hence, the name “Vat” (Banyan) “Savitri”.
Today, women take bath early morning, dress-up nicely wearing gorgeous accessories, putting vermillion, and observe fast. Unlike modern days, women used to fast for three consecutive days before the actual festival day on earlier days.
Women follow each other to the banyan tree and pray in groups. They pour Ganga water and apply turmeric powder, vermilion and sandalwood to the tree. Yellow and red threads are being tied by women around the tree chanting prayers and hymns. They pray by orbiting 108 times a banyan tree. The priest performs the ritual and narrates the story of Savitri and Satyavan.
Soaked pulses, rice, and different fruits are offered as bhog. Women break their fasts by having those after the puja followed by receiving blessings from the husband and elders of their family. Food, clothes, and money are also donated today.
Significance: Vat Savitri is a festival of sheer belief, love and devotion of a wife to her husband. The fast is basically done and dedicated to the married life of Savitri and Satyavan. Hope this day brings joy and loving moments for all!